Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Promoting Racial Equity in Ballet: Strategies and Challenges
by Ogden, Stephanie, M.A., American University, 2018, 64; 10786425
Abstract (Summary)

Ballet is a world of exquisite artistry and strong tradition that has evolved beyond its origins as an elite court dance of 17th century France into a global art form reaching audiences throughout the world. Yet, to this day, ballet remains mostly white. This inequity is found not only on the stage, but in the ballet school, executive suite, and boardroom.

Racial inequity in ballet is born of a complex system of historical, social, and organizational issues, including: artistic tradition, racism, socioeconomics, cultural policy, education, funding, management, and governance. Because these issues are not independent but intersectional, they must be examined and addressed holistically.

By conducting surveys, interviews, and a thorough literature review, the author dissects the challenges ballet companies face in promoting racial equity and identifies strategies being implemented to address those challenges. The author posits that racial equity must come from the top of an organization, with leaders setting policy that leads actionable change. Simultaneously, there must be a bottom-up approach where access, education, and opportunity are given to rising dancers and leaders of color.

This paper is meant to be a working resource for all dance professionals seeking to promote racial equity in ballet.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Varela, Ximena
Commitee: Costello, Thomas, Saunders Thompson, Denise
School: American University
Department: Performing Arts
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Dance, Arts Management, Ethnic studies
Keywords: Arts management, Ballet, Dance, Diversity, Equality, Racial equity
Publication Number: 10786425
ISBN: 978-0-355-89524-7
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