Does the US have an all black dance company? We have an all aboriginal dance company here in Australia and from what I have heard and read they are highly talented, skilled and yes elite dancers. Like I mentioned in the Australian Ballet forum, trying to see the aboriginal company is just as difficult as it is to see the Australian Ballet if you don't live in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Canberra.
I'd better get back on track for this forum, Perhaps Ballet is elitist, but then is it really so bad? We all like to be part of something special that reflects our cultural and artistic heritage. Be it black, white, asian, whatever. It is a shame I think when we can't accept that each race/religion will have it's own elite form of dance, music, communication. Perhaps we should be celebrating this elitisim, for each race, because isn't that what the philosophy of multi-culturalism is all about, not a common denominator?
Forgive me if I'm a 'budinsky' in this excellent thread. The U.S. does (did) have the Dance Theatre of Harlem. It also has the Alvin Ailey Dance Co. (which
is predominantly Black but a modern dance company). DTH's ballet school is still open (last I heard), but the company has suffered financial distress in recent years, and has had to cease and desist performances. Here in Los Angeles,
there is the Debbie Allen Dance School as well as the Lula Washington Dance Theatre, which are avidly supported by the Black community. Also, on a different note, opera is supported as well. Socio-economic status is a big factor in what young Blacks pursue, and on how the community's families spend their discretionary funds. But we will make time for, and spend money on those companies which celebrate and uplift our culture and experience. IMO the hip-hop 'culture' does NOT do that, but ethnic and modern dance, jazz, and yes, ballet does!
I think the real issues are exposure, access and awareness on both sides. Once performing arts centers and opera houses are aware of interest, they will market to that community. For example, this past Christmas, an organization I'm a member of has a sub-committee called "Live Theatre for Children." We escorted Los Angeles inner-city children (ie. Black and Latino), to their first live theatre experience: "The Nutcracker." Once the Long Beach Ballet found out that the children were from South Central L.A., they donated the tickets gratis. It was a multi-racial cast and ballet company. I think that it meant ALOT for these kids to see other kids and professionals onstage who looked just like them . They wouldn't have known they have the option, if they didn't see that it was possible. I think that's what the arts are all about - infinite possibilities .