I love Instagram. It’s an amazing platform not only for following what is trending in our feminist community, but also to find new and inspiring women to connect with. The other day I stumbled upon Brown Girls Do Ballet and was totally hooked on their account! Their imagery and stories of beautiful ballerinas had me asking for more. So I reached out and spoke to Brittani Marie on what inspired this ballet movement and how we could support the need for diversity in dance. Read her exclusive interview below!
What inspired Brown Girls Do Ballet?
Brown Girls Do Ballet was inspired by the desire of one dance mom discovering the need to shine a spotlight on brown ballerinas. Takiyah Wallace, Founder of Brown Girls do Ballet, has a daughter named Charlie. She’s sweet, brown and completely in love with ballet. While searching all over the city of Dallas for the best dance programs, as parents they couldn’t help but notice none of the other children looked like theirs. She then turned to Google Images and searched “Ballet”, only to learn how it appeared to be a Eurocentric performing art. What message does this send to her little girl who may dream of becoming a prima ballerina? How would she feel in a world where no one looked like her? Striving to touch the lives of all little ballerinas, we set out to simply provide a media outlet highlighting the diversity in ballet. Little did we know, a movement would be born and this project would become so much more.
Does photography still play a large role in your mission and project?
Photography is our way of connecting with our audience. Pictures are truly worth a thousand words to our dance moms wanting to keep her ballerina inspired or to the ballerina waiting for the moment she is discovered. We LOVE every email we open with a dancer sharing her story and thanking us for the opportunity to be seen. It truly makes our day every time. By featuring ballerinas and various campaigns for submissions, we are fulfilling our initial goal to give them a spotlight. Our photos have allowed us to build valuable relationships with ballerinas ranging from young girls to professional dancers performing in some of the most prestigious companies of New York City.
Our mission has grown beyond the spotlight with businesses that provide resources to dancers through sponsorship, books, scholarships, and mentor programs.
We love your Brown Ballerina spotlight. Can you tell us about one of your favorite inspiring spotlights?
Oh gosh! We have so many! Well of course it’s impossible to have one favorite among these beautiful girls, but one of our very first interviews with a teeny ballerina named Solise Freeney simply took our breath away and inspired us to continue growing the project. Solise is an extremely talented six year old ballerina who has been training since the age of two! Her confidence at such a tender age is so refreshing and inspiring in itself. She has goals, role models and of course we immediately fell in love with her adorable personality. She trains ten hours a week at School of Ballet Arizona and Center Pointe Dance (yes- she’s quite busy for a six year old). We are excited to see her grow up!
How can Feminist Wednesday readers follow your movement?
Readers can follow our latest projects and ballerinas on: