New Short Exposes Unique Experience of ‘Brown’ Ballerinas

By Qimmah Saafir May 27, 2015

Filmmaker Chassidy Jade is set to release a short film called “Brown Ballerina” this year. The short will explore the circumstances and issues specific to brown dancers or “dancers of color.” 

The six-minute film follows a ballerina, who is played by real-life dancer Maryann Payne, through endless discrimination, discouragement and even assault. Jade crafted the storyline according to actual occurrences endured by her sister, professional dancer Shanna Woods. She would eventually like to extend the short into a feature-length film and ultimately a “brown ballerina" movement.

A glimpse of “Brown Ballerina” comes via Mashable’s overarching look at diversity within the dance world. The story includes Virginia Johnson, a founding member and the current artistic director of the Dance Theater of Harlem, who talks about Misty Copeland and the history of black and brown dance companies. 

Read the full story here and see the trailer for “Brown Ballerina” above.