Watch this moving video about black ballerinas and representation in the arts

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Elle Griffiths
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Words: Elle Griffiths

The Dance Theatre of Harlem has kicked off its spring season with a moving short film made in collaboration with Grammy-Award-winning artist India Arie.

The powerful clip, called High Above, portrays a young black girl learning to love ballet after seeing black dancers perform.

Grieving the loss of her grandmother, the girl takes the tickets her mother discarded in sadness at her death and attends the performance in secret.

We see her watch the dancers in awe before the prima donna gives her a pair of ballet shoes. The girl then returns home to learn more about her mother and grandmother’s special bond through ballet.

Written by Charlie Sohne and directed by Daniel Schloss, the clip shows the power representation can have in a young person’s life.

You can watch the full clip below:

The Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook and offers classes and outreach programs.

On its website, the company’s mission statement says it aims to “present a ballet company of African-American and other racially diverse artists who perform the most demanding repertory at the highest level of quality.”

This year it will premiere four new performances during its upcoming New York City premiere.

Images: Dance Theatre of Harlem


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Elle Griffiths

Elle Griffiths is a freelance writer living in Brighton. She divides her time pretty evenly between despairing about American Politics, watching Mad Men re-runs and complaining about Southern Rail delays.