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Ballet Lover

BW's 1st Black Sugarplum Fairy

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Two days ago the Salt Lake Tribune came out with a preview article focusing on Katlyn Addison taking on the role of Sugar Plum fairy for this year's Nutcracker. The article is positive and it is a big deal that Ballet West will have its first Black Sugar Plum Fairy but the article seems to ignore the fact that for at least 7 years BW has been a company of significant diversity (at least in the ballet world) currently its roster shows 5 black/African American dancers , 4 Asian dancers, 6 latinos.

I realize that a black dancer taking on the mantle of a leading role of that magnitude may be news - especially in a community with a reputation for being more homogenous and less diverse than other major cities, but the article rubbed me wrong.

What are peoples' thoughts on this -any insights would be greatly appreciated.


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On one level, I imagine that the paper is trying to find a way to add to the national discussion of Misty Copeland's career at ABT -- a kind of "us too!" positioning. And this is a kind of landmark for them, if only because they seem to feel the need to say so. On another level, this may have been a pragmatic choice -- every year you need to find another way to write about the Nutcracker, and here is the hook for 2015.

The fact that the company has dancers of color in their roster at several levels is more heartening for me, and I wish that the local daily would have pointed to that as well as recognizing Addison's accomplishment.

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I'm sure they are riding the coat tails of Misty Copeland's publicity. She has brought ballet to the forefront, and that is a good thing. I am sick of Misty Copeland, however. She is not the first black ballerina, and won't be the last. She is pretty and dances well, but is not God's gift to ballet. She dances "heavy" and is missing the ethereal quality essential to a great ballerina.

Adam Sklute has done a great job of making Ballet West a diverse group of dancers, though.

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