We are streaming the Community Conversation: Black Representation in the Arts that took place on February 13, 2020. The video has been edited for time and content. Enjoy!
What happens when audiences see a Black ballerina dance Clara in The Nutcracker or a Black opera singer sing Mimì in La bohème? How does the storytelling change when Black creators and artistic leaders are the ones making decisions behind the scenes? How can companies help to undo harm, create a more diverse pipeline of talent, implement more race-affirming performance practices, and ultimately, enable the decolonization of these historically white-dominated art forms? This discussion on Black representation in the arts was led by Seattle Opera Scholar in Residence, Naomi André, professor at the University of Michigan and author of “Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement.” Speakers included Theresa Ruth Howard, formerly of Dance Theatre of Harlem and founder and curator of the “Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet,” and Bridgette A. Wimberly, award-winning poet, playwright, and librettist of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird—which was staged at Seattle Opera Feb. 22–March 7.