A Documentary Film from
Shirley Road Productions



BLACK BALLERINA, a feature length documentary, is a story of passion, opportunity, heartbreak and triumph of the human spirit. Set in the overwhelmingly white world of classical dance, it tells the stories of several black women from different generations who fell in love with ballet. Six decades ago, while pursuing their dreams of careers in classical dance, Joan Myers Brown, Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson confronted racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity. In 2016, three young black women also pursue careers as ballerinas. Do they find that the color of ballet has changed? If so, how? If not, why?

BLACK BALLERINA uses the ethereal world of ballet to engage viewers in a subject that reaches far outside the art world and compels viewers to think about larger issues of exclusion, equal opportunity and change.

Producer/Director Frances McElroy is a 2009 Pew Fellow in the Arts and 2010 Leeway Foundation Transformation Awardee. Project supporters include the National Endowment for the Arts, Women In Film and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. American Public Television is distributing the documentary.


Listen to a recent interview with director Fran McElroy about BLACK BALLERINA from The National Endowment of the Arts:
Frances McElroy | NEA


Shirley Road Productions is a non-profit organization. Support audience outreach to help BLACK BALLERINA. Contributions are tax deductible.

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Check out the following links to visit organizations that we admire:

International Association of Blacks in Dance
Dance Films Association
Dance/USA Philadelphia
National Dance Education Organization
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Jones Haywood Dance School
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Collection
Dance Heritage Coalition
Joffrey Ballet School
Charlotte Ballet
The Houston Ballet
Sphinx Music
Triangle Friends of African American Arts
Carolina Ballet
Color of Music
Brown Girls Do Ballet
Dance Theatre of Lynchburg
TU Dance