Warning: mysql_fetch_assoc() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given in /var/sites/d/disabilityarts.org/public_html/includes/behaviours/comments_replies.php on line 123 Why are there so few Black dancers in British Ballet? - The Creative Case for Diversity
On observation, there are very few Black British dancers in UK ballet companies and these dancers are largely unknown by the general public.
An informal survey of UK ballet companies’ websites in 2011 revealed, for example, that the English National Ballet has 65 dancers in the company of which, Shevelle Dynott an artist of the company is the only black British dancer. Junior soloist Yonah Acosta, Brazilian and Cuban Junor Souza are also members of the company. The Royal Ballet lists 95 dancers of which Carlos Acosta, principal guest artist from Cuba and African American and Eric Underwood are the only black dancers. The Birmingham Royal Ballet features 54 dancers and two are black, first soloist Tyrone Singleton a black British dancer and soloist Céline Gittens a Trinidadian born and Canadian citizen. The Northern Ballet has a company of 33 dancers and none are black.
The informal survey shows that the four mainstream ballet companies employ a total of 247 dancers of which the total number of black ballet dancers represented is seven, i.e. over 2%, a percentage consistent with the proportion of Black people in the UK population, as revealed in the National Statistics Census 2001. Yet, the total number of Black British dancers employed in the four mainstream ballet companies are two, which is under 1%. This indicates an underrepresentation in direct contrast to the 2% proportionate representation. Although statistical information can represent a specific research opinion, it does not reveal a true reflection of black dancers’ progression within the ballet profession.
Why are the numbers of black dancers in the British ballet low? Is finance or ‘cultural antipathy’ i.e. cultural opinions or parental influence helping or hindering progression? Does racial identity obstruct success?