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Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Harlem Virginia Johnson, Dancer and Choreographer Benjamin Millepied, and CBA Founder and Director Jennifer Homans discussed race, equity, and otherness in ballet, against a larger backdrop of politics in American and French society today.
Recently, ballet companies have been denounced for uncritically perpetuating traditions at odds with contemporary society and notions of racial diversity, equality, and social justice. In France, Benjamin Millepied is actively trying to push back against racial stereotyping in the ballet; meanwhile, in the United States, the recent rise of Misty Copeland as the first black female principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre has thrust this decades-old debate into the spotlight. However, in both societies, ballet traditions run deep and those who may have the most to gain from reevaluating ballet’s traditions and labels minorities and dancers of color are some of its staunchest supporters.
This program was co-presented by The Center for Ballet and the Arts and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy as part of Festival Albertine 2016. The event was made possible by support from Michele and Timothy Barakett, and Cheryl and Blair Effron.
Curated and introduced by author Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Virginia Johnson, Artistic Director, Dance Theatre of Harlem
Jennifer Homans, CBA Founder and Director
Benjamin Millepied, Dancer and Choreographer
Curated by National Book Award-winning author of Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, the third annual Festival Albertine took place from November 2nd through 6th, 2016 and explored the changing nature of identity and how the arts interrogate our national, social, and cultural labels today in France and the US. Information about Festival Albertine 2017 is available here.
Festival Albertine is made possible with major support from The Recanati-Kaplan Foundation, Susannah Hunnewell, Air France, Van Cleef & Arpels, Institut français, and the Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University. Generous support is provided by Champagne Pommery and The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel.