Seven weeks ago, En Pointe Studio, which is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, made their first post on Instagram, and ever since then, they have dedicated every post to celebrating young Black dance talent. A week ago, they released a photo of all their talented dancers. En Pointe Studio is shattering the imposed color lines in the dance world, and it is truly inspiring.
It wasn’t until I learned more about Misty Copeland’s struggle with race in ballet that I realized how much racism existed in the dance world. The color of her skin made dance studios not want to admit her obvious talent, but after years of mistreatment, Copeland received the honors that she rightfully deserved. When she became the principal ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre, when she released her documentary A Ballerina’s Tale, we all were celebrating with Copeland. She was our Black ballerina who was finally being recognized for her true talent.
En Pointe Studio, which was founded in 2013, is training students who will likely follow in the footsteps of Copeland. At En Pointe Dance Studio, they teach classes in ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and competitive dancing. They teach their young dancers learn how to dye their ballerina slippers so that they match their skin tone. Most importantly, they start teaching their dancers at a young age to love themselves and embrace their Black beauty. This lesson of self-love and embracing your Black beauty and talent is a lesson that society does not want our Black youth to learn. They would rather have our Black youth believe that they don’t matter because for so long the only people who have been viewed as talented were the white people in our society. It is beautiful to see a dance studio confronting those tropes head-on.
This photo, which is a beautiful collection of all of En Pointe Studio’s dancers is proof that our Black youth are talented, skilled, and ready to redefine who and what is viewed as talented in America. The photo contains over twenty of the studio’s students posing in their fierce dance positions. It is a powerful array of melanin that presents Black talent in the dance world, which has been historically ignored in the dance world. En Pointe Studio, instead of asking for permission, is taking the initiative in portraying how Black talent will be represented.
These young dancers are destroying the color lines that have prevented other young boys and girls from believing that they are talented or worthy enough to perform. So far their Instagram page has 56 posts that celebrate their students, and I can’t wait to see what they will post next.