Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet Diversity: Minority Role Models in Ballet

Recommended Posts

Given the current continuing discussion on the Minorities in Ballet thread and a listing by I believe ami, I thought it might be nice to open up a thread to share either the role models our dancers have had who may not have had the amount of ballet success as some of the bigger named dancers but who were inspiring to us or our children nonetheless and helped brave the waters so to speak when they were much harder waters to cross. Many of our younger dancers do not know these names and we should help them learn who they are much like we know Pavlova or Kirkland, etc.


Please when adding dancers share who is male/female, where they danced and when if you know. A link would be fabulous if you have one and be sure to share their ethnicity. Here is a quote from the other thread that addressed some. I could not move the entire post though because it contained some information more relevant to the discussion there. The quote is from member ami1436.


In terms of professionals - I know Ushi Nagar (who is an Indian from East Africa, and a pointe shoe maker) has made pointe shoes for a few Indians in regional companies in the US. I met with him years ago, but I want to say he discussed a company in Kansas and one other place.


There's obviously Amar Ramasar, principal with NYCB. There is currently a BEAUTIFUL South Asian dancer with Ballet Black in England (who was profiled in an article last fall I believe), and they also had Benazir Hussein (who is on video with Viviane Durante in Sleeping Beauty. Hussein dances the Lilac Fairy (I believe Bussell was injured)). She's tall and lovely, but perhaps more famous for her relation to a world-class cricketer! There also was Rashna Hamji and Samira Saidi and Nicola Katrak. These ladies throw the idea of the limits of 'tradition' on its head: Benazir is a Muslim from South India, and Rashna and Nicola are both Parsis from Karachi (Pakistan). Erin Patak, formerly of Houston, is of mixed heritage, and I'm not sure of Tara Bridgette-Bhavnani's background (she's with the Royal, from Canada).

Edit for clarity Hussein, Hamji, Saidi, Katrak were all with the Royal Ballet. Bhavnani is with them now. I believe Patak is dancing in Germany, but I think amitava would know more about her.

I haven't kept up with new dancers at ENB and the Royal since moving back to the US a few years ago... I remember thinking I saw a South Asian in a school performance, but I'll have to check.


In addition, fusion companies (classical Indian with modern) are more pronounced in Britain -- Akram Khan (who is a little, powerful man - sheesh!) and Shobana Jeyasingh are great examples.


There's quite different patterns of migration to the two lands, and I think that in some ways contributes to the difference -- for example, South Asians in American TV shows is quite a recent thing, whilst in Britain they've been on their daytime soaps for eons! As most of our parents, in the US (and this is a generalization), came for education, many of us are told not to pursue dance as a career not because of tradition, but because of the pressure to be a doctor, lawyer, scientist, engineer, etc. Like I said, my friend is now a Dr. of Medicine, and I'm now a PhD. We both still dance. :-)


There's a thread on the sister boards here, which includes Filipinos and some from the Middle East:


Link to comment
  • 3 years later...

I have an update on this! Samira Saidi (referenced above) - is the head of the ENB School! I just found out yesterday and was so excited - not just a South Asian who danced, but now one in a leadership position!


Anjali Mehra is dancing with Matthew Bourne's company these days (another person of South Asian descent).

Link to comment
  • Momof3darlings changed the title to Ballet Diversity: Minority Role Models in Ballet

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...