Black Ballerina

About This Episode


Black Ballerina 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.

Sixty years ago, while pursuing their dreams of careers in classical dance, Joan Myers Brown, Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson (the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo's first black ballerina) confronted racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity in segregated mid-century America. In 2015, three young black women also pursue careers as ballerinas, and find that many of the same obstacles their predecessors faced are still evident in the ballet world today.

Through interviews with current and former ballet dancers along with engaging archival photos and film, the documentary uses the ethereal world of ballet to engage viewers on a subject that reaches far outside the art world and compels viewers to think about larger issues of exclusion, equal opportunity and change.