Misty Copeland made headlines and history this year when she became the first black principal ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre. Her new title gave us much cause for celebration, but in a way, it highlighted the lack of black girls and women — and other women of color — in the world of classic ballet, many of whom never get a chance to be in the spotlight. (Or have their own book deals.)
It was this lack of visibility for ballerinas of color that led photographer TaKiyah Wallace of Some Sweet Photography to start her 2013 photo project, Brown Girls Do Ballet. Today, that personal project has become a startup organization and ultra-inspiring hashtag #BrownGirlsDoBallet.
“I was looking for a project to shoot during my downtime, so I decided my project was going to be photographing dancers of color,” Wallace told the blog Take Part earlier this year. “It went viral. That’s when I realized how very little we are represented in the ballet world, and specifically the classical ballet world.”
Not that that’s stopped brown girls who dream of performing on world stages one day. Here are some great examples of the hashtag at work on Instagram. And remember Brown Girls Do Ballet.
It goes to show you that despite its European underpinnings, classic ballet should be for everyone regardless of their background, race, or economic status. But first we need visibility.
[Images via Instagram]