The Washington, DC, dance scene is abuzz this week. Not only is The Washington Ballet premiering its first-ever production of Swan Lake tonight at the Kennedy Center, but two African-American dancers—American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland and TWB's Brooklyn Mack—will star as Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried in Thursday and Sunday evening's performances.
Ballet's abysmal lack of diversity, especially for black dancers (and women in particular), has been an ongoing topic of discussion, recently with Copeland at the forefront. She debuted as Odette/Odile with ABT last summer in Brisbane, Australia, and is slated to perform it again in June at the Metropolitan Opera House. But pairing Copeland and Mack together for Swan Lake sends an even more powerful message. “To have two African-American dancers as the leads in a major company is so important," Mack told writer Lisa Traiger in this month's issue of Pointe. “There are so many inequalities imbedded in society."
There are only a few tickets left for Thursday, and Sunday night's performance is sold out. But you can check out rehearsal footage, posted by TWB artistic director Septime Webre's Facebook page, here.