Kenyan Ballerina — African Ballerina
Hello Dance Fam! Happy New Month! Hope you’ve all been well and that 2018 has been treating you well so far. I finally wrote up this post from a project I did late last year (if you follow me on social media you’ve probably seen a few sneak peek pics). I termed it the ‘Kenyan Ballerina — African Ballerina’ project. It is a collaboration with three other artists; a make-up artist, a photographer and an African wear designer.
The project is pictorial and an expression of ballet through our African heritage. The outfits are made of African fabric and represent the modern trendy African woman. The make-up is inspired by the theme of an African warrior which ties together with being a ballerina as they both require strength. The project was an idea myself and the three other artists came up with as a way to diversify the image of ballet in the African community as something that we can all do and not necessarily something that only white people can undertake.
Having been in the dance industry for a few years now, I can speak from experience that it is not all rosy and glam! I have on several occasions been met with racist remarks for being an African Ballerina. A sad truth I had to face and come to terms with. A lot of people may not know this but ballet is still considered by many, as a white man’s dance genre.
Lucky for us, phenomenal dancers such as Misty Copeland, the first African-American principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre, Ingrid Silva, a ballerina from Dance Theatre of Harlem and Michaela De Prince, a ballerina from the Dutch National Ballet are helping break those barriers.
I myself decided to help contribute to this ‘radicalization’ as some might term it. I adorned some wonderfully designed African designs and posed for the camera. For some of you, this might seem like something so small and insignificant. But like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and I believe I can visually encourage a fellow African, a fellow Kenyan such as myself that they can be anything they want, even a ballerina.
As I end this post, I want to encourage you, my reader, to go for the things that set your soul on fire. You may face a few challenges along the way but hey, nothing good comes easy, right?
Love & Light!
The Dancing Biochemist
Pictures: Twist and Twist Photography
Makeup: Makeup Dibango
Outfits: Miona Africa Designs