Although dance is not my area of expertise, in fact dance is far from it, I want to write about some black women doing great things in the world of dance because they need to be acknowledged. These women are breaking barriers and providing inspiration for the next generation of young girls who have only ever seen thin white women as ballerinas and professional dancers. The idea that only certain women can be dancers is slowly changing and we are seeing more diversity in this area. There is still a lot of work to be done and here are five incredible women at the forefront of this movement getting women of colour on the ballet stage.
Rhapsody James: This woman has been in the game for a long time. Despite having worked with such people like Ariana Grande, Janet Jackson, and Nicki Minaj. Oh, and she has worked with Beyoncé on numerous occasions. She remains an unnoticed figure to those outside the entertainment industry. Alongside her ever-growing work for celebrities, she also serves as an artistic director for her own dance company called Motivating Excellence. This woman is a creative inspiration who does every artistic endeavour without compromising her personal integrity.
Ebony Williams: Beyoncé does not mess around when picking her dancers. Ebony has danced in two Super Bowls, starred in Beyoncé’s Single Ladies music video, and has also been in another five of Beyoncé’s videos. Although she is most known for this work, we cannot deny Ebony’s talent. She uses her platform to inspire other young girls while hustling through the dance world. Ebony herself states, “I believe that everything you want, need, desire whether it’s a job, love or a home! It’s already yours, your name is on it, and it’s just waiting for you to find it.”
Ingrid Silva: Born in Rio de Janeiro, Ingrid came to the United States to dance in 2008. She has been dancing around the world since. As amazing as her dancing is, what I admire most about Ingrid is her activism. She has spoken at the United Nations and is active feminist fighting for women rights and freedoms globally. She started her Instagram and gives women the platform to share their daily struggles. When she is not an activist, she can be seen as the first Ballerina for the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Princess Mhoon: Princess is not so much a dancer these days. But she is however a world-famous choreographer who was invited to the White House during the Obama administration several times. She has also received numerous awards and acclamations for her black activism work with youth. With a master’s degree behind her and two dance institutes to her name, Mhoon uses her platform to promote black excellence in the arts.
Michaela DePrince: Born in war torn Sierra Leone, Michaela did not have an easy start. Bouncing from home to home as a result of her skin condition, vitiligo, she was deemed to be cursed by her own family. After coming to America through adoptive parents, she put her heart into dance. Michaela’s goal was to break racial stereotypes and overcome conventional beauty standards. When she is not dancing, she works as an Ambassador for War Child in the Netherlands. She has also written several books, including a memoir of her journey into dance, which is soon to become a motion picture!
*Photo of Michaela DePrince-Gallery