The Black Women In Dance: Stepping Out of the Barriers conference will see Urban Bush Women and other international dance artists and academics discuss the achievements of diversity within our industry.
Whilst we see much discussion in the media about our circumstances here in the UK, we often forget about what the state is on the other side of the Atlantic.
Choreographer Maya Taylor is the current Rehearsal Director for the New Orleans Marigny Opera House Ballet, and identifies the diversity imbalance within the American dance scene:
“In the current American dance scene, I observe Black female choreographers and dancers such as Camille A. Brown, Francesca Harper, Jawole Jo Zollar, Debbie Allen, Lauren Anderson, Hope Boykin, Misty Copeland, and more paving the way for other female artists of color in America.
A few have started their own highly successful and prominent dance companies, some have built their success in Hollywood, and there are some that have risen to principal ranks in the top ballet and contemporary companies here.
These achievements are all very encouraging to a choreographer and dancer of color. However, I would like to see more progress in the major American dance companies in their commissioning of women of color.
There are events such as the Joffrey Ballet’s Winning Works Choreographic Competition and the International Association of Blacks in Dance 1st Annual Audition for Women of Color that are opening doors.
While these are wonderful opportunities, I do feel that the progress has been slow in diversifying the current American dance scene.
And for the sake of the arts, I hope this changes very soon.”
It seems that our conference, where UBW Creative Director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar will be key note speaker, is much needed for both the US and UK.
From this we can hope to unite and encourage the fortitude of the international Black dancing community.
Are you from the US or outside the UK? What is the diversity balance like in the dance industry where you are?
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