February 17 2017,

This has been a whirlwind of a time. So much so that it has been difficult to process. As an American I think that the we are all trying to find our feet on a tiny boat in the eye of the storm. I have had many a sleepless nights, thinking about the possible changes to come (and some that have already taken place) and wonder if I have the fortitude to endure. Then I think of the subjects of my Knight Foundation Project, the octogenarian Joan Myers Brown she has seen segregation, the civil rights movement, and the first black president and she’s still here and a feisty and ferocious as ever. This is my heritage, my linage…Thus I will keep my head down in the work and as the folks say “keep on keeping on.”

The odd thing it that even though the world has got mad my personal world is begun to blossom. On January 29th I was pleased to once again participate in facilitating the second audition for women of color with at the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference in Dallas. Hosted by Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Ms. Ann Williams and her team were the epitome of southern hospitality in action. They made us feel welcome and kept the day moving effortlessly. It was lovely to see Amy Fitterer again, fellow warrior, Dance USA was kind enough to host the sponsor of directors prior to the audition. We had spirited conversation, it was impressive to hear some of the work that has been accomplished in the last year. We did some brainstorming, sharing of best practices, and problem solving. The thing I am most proud of is that we truly moving the conversation and the bridge building forward. We felt like a team MoBBallet is happy to bring you a taste in this months Ezine.

There has been another victory. For all those brown ballerinas who are sick and tired of spending both the time and money on pancaking your shoes, we have great news. Pointe shoe manufacturer Gaynor Minden has just announced two new shades of pointe shoes, Cappuccino and Espresso. I recently had a chance to chat with international ballet star Michaela DePrince, and she expressed how thankful she is, as she uses three pairs of shoes a day! That’s a lot of time and make-up…

February 11th I was truly honored to have been invited to deliver the Keynote speech on Diversity at the the Dutch National Ballet’s Positioning Ballet conference in Amsterdam. It was a HUGE honor and a tremendous responsibility. I want to thank Ted Brandsen (Artistic Director) and Peggy Olislaegers (conference coordinator) for being courageous enough to invite me, albeit it is truly my dear friend Monique Duurvoort of MDDance and former member of DNB  whom I owe the greatest thanks owe for telling them about me. She was the one who *really made certain that the voices and the stories of the ballet dancers of color were represented in the room. I call her “My Little Dutch Girl” but she has the heart of a Lion Warrior. We also had a lovely gathering of Dutch dancers of color afterwards. For me it was an enlightening conversation, hearing their experiences was truly educational. There are some great projects coming in the future.

Finally, these days we could all user a little inspiration so I chose Choco-rina and Detroit native Precious Adams performing La Belle – Aurore Act III – Piotr Tchaïkovsky – Maurius Petipa
2014 Prix de Lausanne Finals. It certainly made me smile and then sigh. I hope it does the same for you!

Theresa Ruth Howard

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