Yesterday, I took my first ballet class it what has probably been 2 years. I was rusty to say the least but definitely still got it. 😁
I stood at the bar in my green genie pants and white thermal shirt that eventually became the open front zebra print bikertard that was hidden underneath. I was the only black person in class that day among a sea of black tights, leotards and buns,
And everyone was half my age but after a few moments I just remembered this is for me.
I don’t talk often about my time at Juilliard but the one thing I always admired about them was they never had a dress code. This allowed for the dancers to fully express themselves and the costumes we would wear... 😂
It was one of the first times I started to find my personality having been confined to black tights and a white t-shirt for most of my life.
I spent most summers away at ballet camps and one in particular was a unique experience. I have the utmost gratitude for them because having received full scholarships and free room and board every time, they were my literal survival.
It was six weeks of security but even with that security it was still a strange land of being one of two black guys in a camp of 400 of some of the wealthiest girls and 50 men.
I remember the summer before I went away, I brought a pair of knock off chanel sunglasses because I wanted the real ones so bad but God knows I couldn’t afford. I wore my knock offs fearlessly. I befriended a few of the girls in the program and everyday after classes would follow them to the what would be the equivalent of 5th ave shops. I would tag along as they shopped pretending I could afford anything in the store while rocking my Chanel
Knock offs just to feel like I somewhat fit in, that is until one of the guys clocked them and saw that instead of a C, they were circles that Id blacked out a portion of with a magic marker. Embarrassed was a bit of an understatement but even worse, I allowed that to keep me from wearing the glasses I had so fallen in love with.