April 6th 2017

After spending six weeks abroad:1 week in Amsterdam for the Positioning Ballet conference, 4 weeks in Macau on a non dance project with D Squared Designs, and one week in Beijing with great friends, I have survived stage fright, Ice World at the Parisian in Macau and almost falling of the the Great Wall of China!! Now that I am back State side, I have hit the ground running!

While away I did have the opportunity to edit the wonderful footage of the dynamic conversation with 4 advanced African American students at the School of American Ballet and alum Andrea Long Naidu who was guest teaching at the time. I am excited to share it with you. We had a true heart to heart where the ladies discussed what is it like to study at the prestigious school, as  one of the few in the upper levels. We had a great laugh when talking about some of the cultural divides like the pressure of having to be twice as good, to having a Black Mama! Things got serious when we delved into the secondary color line, light vs. dark. As the girls were as diverse in skin tone as our race, there were many intense feelings about the reality of this bias.

On that note Dance Magazine invited me to be a monthly contributor to there online site and for my first offering I penned Is Ballet Brown Bagging it?” which takes a look at the reality that Artistic Directors have historically and consistently favored lighter skinned female ballet dancers over their darker counterparts. It was a very personal and intimate subject, not just because I am a brown ‘rina, but also because it exposed and aired some “dirty laundry” of our community. I write:

“This is a difficult reality to write down in black and white. As I do, I fear that I am outing a very private, intimate vulnerability in my community. But if it is my hope to transform these conversations, then I myself must take the risk. If we are authentically working to create sustainable change, to move towards real integration, then we must talk about the really hard really real stuff. (Breath….)”

Thanks to the Public Relations team at In The Lights, MoBBallet was on Fire last month!! While on a 12 hour time difference I managed to do several interviews. We are getting the word out and raising awareness about MoBB and our Mission. One of the lovely articles that was written by Taryn Finley of Huffington Post/Black Voices. A big thank you for everyone’s effort to get that done!

Finally the Ezine is never complete without a lil’ inspiration, I “Fortunate” to present Black Ballerina and Master Teacher Sandra Fortune Green. I was so excited when I found this footage as I was building her MoBBallet Artist Page (you really must keep checking into our Roll Call we are fervently working to build pages for all 302 names!. Once again if you are ON the Roll Call and have not submitted you Bio or Materials please so today!! Click HERE

Oh and Happy Spring!

Theresa Ruth Howard

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