BLACK BALLERINA, a feature documentary, is a story of passion, heartbreak and the triumph of the human spirit. It’s told by several black ballerinas of different generations who struggled to follow their dreams of a ballet career. They include Joan Myers Brown who founded PHILADANCO, an internationally renowned modern dance company; Delores Browne, who after touring the UK with the New York Negro Ballet was unable to find a job as a dancer and joined The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as a teacher. Raven Wilkinson, after becoming the first black dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, was compelled to leave her country to advance her career in Holland.
These moving stories interlace with perspectives from several key members of today’s ballet world and explore why, even in 2013, truly integrated companies and equal opportunities to advance are rare. BLACK BALLERINA uses classical ballet to engage viewers in a subject that reaches outside the art world. It confronts the complexities of change and encourages dialogue about equal opportunity and its impacts, both personal and institutional.
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, the PA Partners in the Arts and the Capezio Foundation.
Shirley Road Productions is a non-profit organization. Contributions to help complete BLACK BALLERINA are tax deductible.