African American Women Ballet Dancers

636 Words3 Pages
Many people asked were Ballet relevant to the 1980’s. It was connotation that went with the word, “Ballet”. The little girl’s got the part in her hair; the bun in the back. Any sequence in step in art form, Ballet, went with slowed time and classical music. Ballet was known for its elegant movement and was also known for only white women to do. Although many African American women wanted to join this style dance, they weren’t allowed because of the discrimination towards them. In this paper, I will be sharing with you information on African American women and the challenges they faced to becoming a ballet dancer. When one thinks about ballet, they visualize a graceful art; A type of dance that takes skill, poise, grace, and practice. However when one thinks about dance even more, they probably visualize a white female and/or male. Why is this the case? Due to racism in American history, it has been hard for African Americans to reach favorable recognition in the ballet world. Many people at this time thought of ballet as being a dance only performed by white individuals. They felt that African Americans were not physiologically built for this type of dance. Even if they were highly skilled and trained, African Americans still neglected to be critically acclaimed. These racist ideas carried on through the years, lasting until today. For over 400 years, ballet had remained a white aristocratic art form. Black women were considered physically unsuited for classical dance. White women were considered very small and petite. Back in the 30’s-60, the scale was needed to show that each ballet dancer had to be 109 pounds. That was known as the “fine dancing weight”. The tallest they could be was 5-foot 9-inches. If you didn’t fit the standards of an “average ballet dancer”, you were no longer getting paid attention too. Another challenge African American women had to
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