How many brown ballerinas have I ever seen or heard of? Why is is that brown ballerinas are slim to none? Are the brown body types not accepted ? Are brown faces invisible in the ballet world? I sat back and thought about all the possible reasons as I scrolled through my younger cousin’s Ballet recital pictures and only seen one other multi racial brown face .My cousin is a 9-year-old african american girl who has fallen in love with Ballet yet there aren’t many brown ballerinas for her to admire or at least those that have made it to an elite level in ballet. I feared that she would loose hope once she didnt see images in ballet who loked like her . A few days later I coincidently came across a young filmmakers page by the name of Chassidy Jade who had made a short film inspired by her elder sister called BROWN BALLERINA which touches on issues of race,politics and social class in the world of ballet, giving viewers a glimpse into a world that before now was inaccessible. Brown Ballerina images without a doubt is hope and inspiration for our young brown ballet dancers .Chassidy believes that viewers will be inspired by the story’s universal messages of self-love and power found in defining one’s personal path. More than a movie, BROWN BALLERINA is a movement, with a fast growing national fan base.
The film’s lead, Maryann Payne brings BROWN BALLERINA to life. With over a decade of experience, the dancer and actress received her primary training at Lulu Ballet in Los Angeles as well as Boynton Beach’s Southern Dance Theatre. Payne went on to attend Dreyfoos School of the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach as well as the New World School of the Arts in Miami Beach. Years of dedication translated into irrefutable skill,earning the ballerina a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive Program. Payne has also trained at the iconic Dance Theatre of Harlem and has been a featured dancer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
A young legend in the making , Chassidy Jade ,Filmmaker and creator hailing from Memphis,TN and Delray Beach,FL is currently a professional video editor working on commercials and branding for Telemundo, NBC, Disney, etc. She is also following her dreams by investing in her own company Crown Me Royal Labs, a post production company that also produces its own original content.
“We’re taught to relate, not to think for ourselves so that it’s easy to find comfort in boxes that fit a specific character. Once you step outside that character, you become human.”
Brown Ballerina is also currently on Tour. During the tour people will be able to view the short film, have discussions with filmmaker and actors involved in this quintessential movement. Next up on the tour is Denver, Colorado. If you can’t make it to one of their tour stops Drop some coins here to support this vital film for all the little future brown Ballerinas to see!
Instagram/Facebook/Tumblr : @brownballerina