The beauty of ballet — the precision, whimsical costumes and classical performances like The Nutcracker and Black Swan are well known and regaled across the globe. Black ballet, on the other hand, is an entirely different beast. Black people have long-since by excluded from the historically exclusive craft. In this tiny world of elite dance a small number of names including Alvin Ailey, Misty Copeland and the Dance Theater of Harlem reign loudly. Other brown hued dancers — those who have studied the power of point and the mastery of the pirouette often go unnoticed.
In How They Sway, director Jaad Asante gives viewers a glimpse into Atlanta’s predominantly black dance company, Ballethnic. Founded in 1990 by husband/wife team Waverly T. Lucas II and Nena Gilreath, Asante turns her lens on the dancers. We watch as they prepare for their take on Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet which they’ve named The Urban Nutcracker.
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