Sharing the struggles and celebrating the triumphs of being African American in the ballet world and beyond.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Power of Imagery

 What we don't see is sometimes as impactful as what we do.

Art by Soniya Hardy

Images have power! As a young ballerina, I was always deeply moved whenever I had the rare occasion to come across the image of an African-American ballerina. Even as a young child I was aware of the deeply personal and moving nature of such imagery. The strong and beautiful lines projected onto canvas or in print were so exceptionally rare, so poignant—they filled me with inspiration and a sense of belief in myself. Only recently has Disney created a black character in The Princess and the Frog. Upon learning of this important breakthrough, after merely 100 years of filmmaking, I thought to myself, "how wonderful for a little girl of color to go to the theatre and see an animated princess who looks like her."  As a young dancer, the absence of self-affirming images had a huge impact on how I felt about myself, and also affected the image I thought I needed to portray to be accepted.

I want to thank the artist like Soniya Hardy, Scott D. Allen, Amy Everhart as well as many other artist who choose to utilize African-American ballerinas.

Jazz Lady by Elena

Oopsy Daisy Fine Art for Kids

The Ballerina by Kevin Williams