Skin Colored Pointes

Interviews with Women of Color in Ballet


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About the Book

Predominantly white casting in ballet has led many to wonder, “Where are all the black swans?” This book sheds light on female dancers of color, including thirteen primary accounts from African American, Latina, and Asian women in ballet. Topics covered include dance training, casting (and color-casting), employment, discrimination, implicit bias, success, and achievement. Dancers discuss in detail the obstacles many dancers of color face during training; considerations facing some women of color when seeking employment; performance challenges related to company work; and the teachers, parents, and community members that paved a way and widened spaces for them. Through the stories and experiences of the women featured here, models of inclusive practices and allyship are shared. The book culminates with a section providing teaching tools to support inclusive learning spaces.

About the Author(s)

Nyama McCarthy-Brown is an associate professor of dance pedagogy through community engagement, at The Ohio State University. She has been writing and developing teaching strategies in dance education for well over a decade. Her research is focused on dance as a vehicle for social justice.

Bibliographic Details

Nyama McCarthy-Brown
Foreword by Zita Allen
Afterword by Melanye White Dixon
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 267
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8705-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5181-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Foreword by Zita Allen 1
Preface 5
Introduction 9
Background of Ballet in the United States 27
Herstories: The Interviews 41
Set I—Retired Dancers 42
Lauren Anderson 42; Lourdes Lopez 53; Caridad Martinez 77; Crystal Michelle Perkins 93; Stephanie Marie Powell 110; Endalyn Taylor 128
Set II—Dancers Who Are Still Performing or Recently Retired 141
Shelby Colona 141; Monike Cristina 153; Yinet Fernandez 160; Kristie Latham 170; Claudia Monja 186; Margaret ­Severin-Hansen 192; Melissa Verdecia 203
Reflections 221
Themes and Variations: In the Experiences of the Women Interviewed 222
A Liberatory Approach to Teaching Ballet 240
Afterword by Melanye White Dixon 248
References 251
Index 255