Black Swans

EMANCIPATION 150: Black Women in Classical Ballet

Monday, March 4, 2013

7:00 PM

"Where are all the Black Swans?" That question was raised by The New York Times in a 2007 article that went on to observe: "while other minorities have made inroads in classical ballet, the complicated reality of racial inequality persists, especially for black women." A few years later, Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem, responded to the article, reiterating that "Black Swans are still too rare."


In this evening of performance and conversation, we sit down with legends and luminaries in the field of classical ballet: Virginia Johnson, who is also Dance Theatre of Harlem's Founding Principal Dancer; Raven Wilkinson, legendary ballerina formerly of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and character actress for the New York Metropolitan Opera; Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theatre Soloist; and Ashley Murphy, Dance Theatre of Harlem Company Ballerina.

They share individual stories that reveal universal narratives about the intersecting and contradictory artistic, aesthetic and cultural elements that continue to shape the world of ballet. We'll also explore the complex journey that these women have danced through, on and off the stage. This conversation will be moderated by Charisse Jones, journalist and essayist. The evening will feature a performance by company members from the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Learn more about our EMANCIPATION 150 series, part of The NEXT New York Conversation.

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Guests:

Virginia Johnson

Hosted by:

Charisse Jones

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