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Harlem 1969; it's the height of the Civil Rights era and the community is still reeling from the assassination of Martin Luther King. Arthur Mitchell, the first Black principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, takes his protest to the stage and establishes the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Here begins the story of the five extraordinary women at the heart of this book.

Both a group biography and a story of a particular time, this is a book about ballet, the enduring allure of ballet for young girls, and about how these pioneers broke into a world that was closed to them and changed ideas of what a classical dancer could be. It is about the heart-breaking impact of the AIDS epidemic which claimed the lives of so many of the male dancers. It's about racism and activism through art.

And it's about the eternal glamour of ballet; these swans appeared at the grandest opera houses and theatres, dancing at the White House, and even for the Queen. Their fans included Mick Jagger and they performed alongside the likes of Michael Jackson and Josephine Baker. But most importantly it tells the universal story of female friendship, and in particular how these five young women formed a bond - while experimenting with different ways of dying ballet shoes and tights to match their skin tones - which still endures many decades later.

Author: 
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: 30 April 2024
Pages: 480
ISBN: 9781786582508 Categories: , Tag:

The Swans of Harlem : Fifty years of sisterhood, five black ballerinas, one incredible story

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