FCC – Female Choreographers Collective

In recent years, this has been a recurring topic of discussion in Modern Dance: in an industry which is predominately female and in an art form pioneered by women …. where are all the female choreographers?

In a response to the dwindling number of female choreographers receiving regular funding or support in the same league as their male counterparts, we feel compelled to take positive action.

Therefore, we would like to introduce to you the FCC – the Female Choreographers Collective. The sole purpose and mission of this collective is to support, encourage and spearhead work created by female choreographers across the UK.

We seek to make contact with all female choreographers in the UK and organise forums, networking opportunities and platforms to showcase the abundance of female talent currently creating work.

We are also committed to investigating the reasons behind this shift, and we plan to call on all female choreographers who are interested in highlighting this issue to share with us their experiences being a female choreographer in the modern dance industry today.

This issue has been discussed sporadically over the last few years, with Dance Umbrella hosting a forum on the topic in 2009. In this heated debate, everything from childcare to sexualisation and the ego of the male choreographer were thrown into the arena.

Betsy Gregory, artistic director of the dance festival Dance Umbrella, said, “There are loads of women making work. So why are they not progressing? I can’t offer answers, but it could be around women having other creative drives in their lives, like family…”

Donated Leotards Turn Kenyan Orphans Into Ballerinas

Limelight Dance Studios donated over 100 ballet costume pieces to Anno’s Africa, a UK-based charity offering creative arts education to children in Africa.

ballet-donations-kenya-africaThey are the ballerinas of Kenya.

They are dressed in the leotards donated by Hamilton dance studio Limelight.

They perform a pirouette and the simple action gives them a small time frame to forget that they come from poverty. Some forget they are orphans.

The kids are part of Anno’s Africa, a UK-based charity which offers arts education to vulnerable children in some of Africa’s most deprived city slums.

The ballerinas come from the most deprived parts of Kenya. Some sleep on the streets or in shacks with no amenities. They and their families struggle to feed themselves on a dollar a day. Some are orphans.

Many of the dancers, who have been participating for the last two years in the Kenyan programme, scavenge rubbish tips to find something to sell so that they can cobble together enough for an evening meal.

Read the full story about these ballet donations to Africa


Brown Girls Do Ballet – Empowering Young Girls With Ballet

Brown Girls Do Ballet is a start-up organization dedicated to promoting ethnic diversity in ballet programs through various media platforms, training resources, and an exclusive network in the world of ballet.

brown-girls-do-balletBrown Girls Do Ballet is part of Brown Girls Do., Inc. Their purpose is to promote diversity in the arts by providing annual ballet scholarships, a ballet mentor network, and community ballet programs to empower young girls.

The mission of Brown Girls Do Ballet is to help increase participation of underrepresented minority populations in ballet programs through organizing and arranging ballet performances and providing resources and scholarships to assist young girls in their ballet development and training.

Follow the link for more information on Brown Girls Do Ballet

Ballet Slipper & Shoe Recycling – The Footloose Mission

How can you turn your passion into impact? Becca Duberman explains  in Relate Magazine how her passion for dance led her to start collecting ballet shoes and become the founder of dance charity, The Footloose Mission

Becca-Duberman-FootlooseFor the past 15 years, I have taken dance classes at Michele’s Dance Studio in Livingston, NJ.

Over the course of my dance career, I have come to realize that having appropriate dance shoes is a key to excelling in dance.

I began thinking about aspiring dancers that may not be able to afford appropriate shoes. After all, the cost of dance shoes is quite expensive. Dance shoes can cost anywhere from $40-$100 a pair and from the ages of 6-10, children’s feet grow every two to three months and teenagers at least once a year.

As a result it is very expensive to afford the proper shoes.

I founded FOOTLOOSE, a non-profit charitable organization, with the mission of collecting new and gently used dance shoes to donate to less fortunate dancers.

Read the full article on the Footloose Mission

Michaela DePrince – War Child Ambassador

war-child-hollandMarco Borsato announced that Michaela DePrince (21) will be his new colleague at the War Child ambassador team. Michaela is a Sierra Leonean-American ballet dancer and has been dancing for the Dutch National Ballet since 2013.

“War Child is incredibly proud to have Michaela as a new ambassador”, said Marco.

Michaela added: “My goal is to help war children all over the world. I know from firsthand experience what war does to children. I would like to show them that they are not alone. Luckily I have had a lot of chances in my life. Therefore I am really grateful. Now I would like to help by giving something back.”

In the coming years War Child wants to help even more children in the countries where they are active. War Child’s work is more needed now than ever before. Almost 250 million children live and grow up in war zones. The ambassadors have a priceless value in creating attention for War Child’s work.

Follow the link for more info on Michaela DePrince and War Child

How Dance Evokes Feminism & Female Empowerment

Do feminism and dance go together? Film, literature, sculpture, paintings and music can all be feminist or reveal a feminist message. Can artists convey feminism through the power of dance?

Dancers can portray strength, self-reliance, confidence and power, all elements of female empowerment.

Here’s an interesting article that discusses how dance can evoke female empowerment. it is by the opinioness of the world who is feminist, vegan and unapologetically opinionated


Project Plié – American Ballet Theatre

In September 2013, American Ballet Theatre announced the formation of Project Plié, a comprehensive initiative to increase racial and ethnic representation in ballet and diversify America’s ballet companies.

PrintProject Plié seeks to combine training and support of ballet students from communities previously underrepresented in American ballet companies with the creation of a nationwide network of partner professional ballet companies who are committed to diversity.

In addition, Project Plié will include a new partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to introduce participants to ballet and identify children for future training.

Project Plié – American Ballet Theatre’s Diversity Initiative
from WPRNY on Vimeo.

Follow the link for more info on Project Plié

Misty Copeland – I Will What I Want


Under Armour set out to launch its most expansive women’s campaign to-date with the brand platform “I WILL WHAT I WANT.”

“I WILL WHAT I WANT” speaks to women who do not wait for permission, advice or affirmation from others in order to go after what they want.

The campaign kicked off with the global launch od a film featuring ballerina Misty Copeland, unapologetically proving that inner strength can trump fate.

The campaign goes on to show Misty and other fierce female athletes using their will to tune out society’s standards to achieve their dreams.


Black Ballerina – Classical Ballet Documentary Film

BLACK BALLERINA, a feature length documentary-in-progress, 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.

Six decades ago, while pursuing their dreams of careers in classical dance, Joan Myers Brown, Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson confronted racism, exclusion and unequal opportunity. In 2015, three young black women also pursue careers as ballerinas. Do they find that the color of ballet has changed? If so, how? If not, why?

BLACK BALLERINA uses the ethereal world of ballet to engage viewers in a subject that reaches far outside the art world and compels viewers to think about larger issues of exclusion, equal opportunity and change.

Producer/Director Frances McElroy is a 2009 Pew Fellow in the Arts and 2010 Leeway Foundation Transformation Awardee.

Shirley Road Productions is a non-profit organization. DONATE NOW to help complete BLACK BALLERINA. Contributions are tax deductible.

Project supporters include the National Endowment for the Arts, the PA Partners in the Arts and the Capezio Foundation.

The Misty Copeland Effect On The Future Of Ballet

Misty Copeland’s well-chronicled journey to becoming the first female African American principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre has helped jump start conversations about racial representation in ballet companies.

The Washington Ballet School of Ballet has launched an initiative to train more dancers of color

But how Copeland’s success may influence ballet training still remains to be seen.

Of course, she’s already helped launch ABT’s Project Plié, which seeks to boost racial and ethnic diversity in ballet through partnerships with organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and with other companies, including Ballet Austin, Cincinnati Ballet and Orlando Ballet.

Read more about the Misty Copeland Effect in Dance Magazine