Black Ballerina Recalls Racism In Russian Ballet
Via Madamenoire reports:
It’s no secret that when you think, historically, about ballet, you’ll realize that there haven’t been a slew of black and brown faces. The dance is largely dominated, throughout the world, by whites. But that doesn’t mean black girls haven’t dreamed of tying up their own set of powder pink slippers and stretching their bodies into graceful angles.
Eighteen year old Precious Adams, of Detroit, was able to make that dream a reality. Her talent even led her away from the U.S. to pursue ballet at Russia’s iconic Bolshoi Theater. And though the opportunity is great for her career, it hasn’t come without its own set of challenges. In an article from The Moscow Times, Adams explained the discrimination and outright racism she’s had to endure since dancing at the Russian company.
In one anecdote, an instructor evaluating which students would be able to participate in the academy’s 240th anniversary celebration, walked up to Adams and asked her plainly, “What are you doing here?” and then told her to leave the audition room. And that’s just the beginning. Adams says she’s been left out of performances and been told to ‘try and rub the black off.’
Adams says she does have allies at the academy but sometimes they are rendered powerless:
“Some of the teachers know in the back of their minds that it is unfair, because they know that I can do what these other people are doing just as good if not better than them. Teachers have tried to vouch for me before, but if the almighty voice says it’s not right — it doesn’t look right — then whatever they say goes.”
When the Bolshoi Academy was asked to address Adams’ concerns they said that they had not received any complaints of discrimination and noted that all students get to participate in onstage practice and said that Adams has received high marks for her time on stage.
Adams said she hasn’t complained about the discrimination she’s faced because she didn’t feel like it would have been taken seriously.
“I don’t think there would have been much of a response.” She said that she did not want “to look like I’m weak or that I feel sorry for myself.”
We wish Precious not but the best of luck and commend her for her inspiring journey in breaking down racial barriers in ballet.