Amherst Ballet stands in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the ongoing protests against police brutality and the systemic discrimination experienced by blacks and other minorities in this country.
We believe that underlying these recent events is a complex set of intertwined sociopolitical, economic, psychological, and cultural factors. While historically specific conditions such as slavery and institutionalized racism have overwhelmingly contributed to the present situation facing African Americans, other more widespread insidious elements affecting all of us have allowed incidents like the murder of George Floyd to continue to happen. One such element is the fear of others different from ourselves. Though seemingly quite simple, this fear is at the root of most discrimination, racial or otherwise, and can only be challenged through knowledge and understanding. Of course, the systemic discrimination tormenting American society today is multi-faceted and requires dismantling from several different angles, starting with economic and political. But if this fundamental fear is not addressed, the task will never complete.
It is well known that the world of classical ballet has its fair share of discrimination and injustice. For example, the percentage of black dancers is still strikingly low, clearly reflecting the “whiteness” of the traditional subject matter and roles. In support of the Black Lives Matter movement, Amherst Ballet will redouble our efforts to advance the mission of building a diverse and inclusive community of dancers and dance enthusiasts in the following ways:
- Make ballet available for underprivileged communities by holding free satellite classes at places that are convenient for them and by offering scholarships to those who want to go further in their training.
- Build a staff that represents racial diversity and works to produce such a community at every turn.
- Continue to offer our existing World Dance Workshops that promote understanding of dances other thanballet and the cultures behind them.
Small steps though they may be, we believe they are the surest ones we can take toward bringing about a world where people no longer have to shout, “Black Lives Matter.”
President, Board of Directors