Anjali Austin (Summer ’17) is a distinguished interdisciplinary artist whose career includes thirteen years of performing with the critically acclaimed Dance Theatre of Harlem. A movement artist, she has performed classical, neo-classical, and contemporary works by prominent choreographers, and choreographs nationally and internationally. Ballets she has performed include Billy the Kid, Swan Lake (Act II), Serenade, Flower Festival, Dougla, Concerto Barocco, Prince Igor, Paquita, and Frankie and Johnny – in which she held a vocal role. Also to her credits are PBS television specials Fall River Legend, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Creole Giselle. Ms. Austin is a Professor in the School of Dance at Florida State University, holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, serves as President–elect of CORPS de Ballet International, conducts lectures on the history and legacy of Black classical ballet dancers, is a Specialized Master Trainer in GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® methodology, and recently premiered her solo work Live Oak at PianoFight in San Francisco, California.
Perspectives of an American Artist: The Auto-Ethnographic Chronicles of an African-American Classical Ballet Dancer
At the Center for Ballet and the Arts, Austin will continue her research and writing on the history of Black classical ballet artists for the development of a book. The work will provide insights that include untapped information sources, historical and legacy connections in dance, and opportunities for (re)discovery of and exposure to the significant contributions of ballet dancers of color to the discipline. This topic aims to openly share the unique experiences and perseverance of individuals who have worked at, and on, a superior level to gain what is often considered “basic” notoriety; investigate the absence of these formidable artists in our ballet training centers; and chart a course for correcting this imbalance by embracing the rich history of Black classical ballet dancers.