Dance Theatre of Harlem recently collaborated with India.Arie to create a four-minute video about black ballerinas. That is probably all you need to know to already be in love with the film, seeing as those two entities are each magical in their own right. The film, “High Above,” does not disappoint. It is nothing less than spectacular and is a lot more than that (like, say, heartwarming, beautiful, inspiring, life-affirming).
The short features a young black girl who goes to see the Dance Theatre of Harlem and is then inspired to become a ballerina herself. With Misty Copeland, the American Ballet Theatre’s first black principal ballerina, rising in prominence, and companies like the Dance Theatre of Harlem (whose mission is to present a ballet company with racial diversity), young children of color are finally beginning to see themselves represented in classic dance — and inspired to pursue their dreams.
The short also portrays a beautiful story about how art can offer everlasting memories and can bond families together.
We’re not crying, you’re crying.
It starts with a young girl at her grandmother’s funeral (hey, we never said it was necessarily upbeat). She sees her mother crying and then watches her throw away tickets that she’d kept (presumably for the grandma) for the ballet.
The (totally adorable) young girl takes a ticket out of the trash and then goes to the ballet all by herself — because going to the ballet was THAT important to her.
Then pure magic ensues:
And the little girl is like: OH. MY. GOD.
The wide eyes say it all.
Then she MEETS THE PRINCIPAL BALLERINA.
The dancer gives the young girl HER ballet shoes, and then the young girl starts dancing herself. This is the exact reason why representation is so important — because if you see ballerinas who look like you, you then believe you can become a ballerina.
Get some tissues and watch the beautiful video here:
India.Arie’s song in the film is her newest single, and the short was directed by Daniel Schloss and written by Charlie Sohne. We are so glad that these creative minds collaborated with the Dance Theatre of Harlem because this video tells such an important story about the power of representation in art.