A Documentary Film from
Shirley Road Productions



BLACK BALLERINA, tells the story of several black women from different generations who fell in love with ballet. Six decades ago, while pursuing their dreams, Joan Myers Brown, Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson confronted racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity. Today, young dancers of color continue to face formidable challenges breaking into the overwhelmingly white world of ballet. Moving back and forth in time, this lyrical, character driven film shows how far we still have to go and stimulates a fresh discussion about race, inclusion and opportunity across all sectors of American society.

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. BLACK BALLERINA is produced by Shirley Road Productions and distributed by American Public Television.


The DVD of BLACK BALLERINA is now available. To purchase a copy, please click to below button to go to our PayPal website. Please be aware that this is for individual home viewing. For information about educational use and study guide, please contact:

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For payment by check:
Shirley Road Productions
108 Shirley Road
Narberth, PA 19072


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

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

International Association of Blacks in Dance
Dance Films Association
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
Pittsburgh Ballet
Color of Music
Brown Girls Do Ballet
Dance Theatre of Lynchburg
TU Dance

BLACK BALLERINA is extremely grateful to its sponsors for their support: