Student Research Paper
Date of Creation
In June of 2015, Misty Copeland became the first black woman promoted to a Principal Dancer in the American Ballet Theatre: a prestigious emblem of the institution of ballet, which is historically almost exclusively white. This stands in stark contrast with American sporting institutions like basketball and track and field, in which black athletes have achieved prominence. The immediately logical explanation is the financial inaccessibility of ballet to black Americans who live disproportionately in poverty and prefer athletic outlets where specialized equipment and one-on-one training are not required. However, this paper will present a second explanation for the persistent inaccessibility of ballet to black bodies. Where white hegemony is historically content to exploit black bodies for athletic advantages, ballet is a form of art before it is a conventional sport, and its rigidly white idea of beauty is considered an art worth preserving rather than a competitive landscape worth widening.
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Golden, Emma D., "From Tropes to Troupes: Misty Copeland and the Hyper-Whiteness of Ballet" (2018). Student Publications. 700.