Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theatre soloist, and Brooklyn Mack of the Washington Ballet will lead in the Washington Ballet’s production of “Swan Lake” at the Kennedy Center making it the first year for two black dancers to do so.

Septime Webre, artistic director at the Washington Ballet, says he has been asked many times why there were no African-Americans in his company.

My response was that, that would remain the case until the great training grounds, the great ballet schools of America become welcoming places for 9-year-old black girls. Families need to feel that their daughter or son of color is welcomed in these big ballet academies.

Now that the Washington Ballet gives classes in Anacostia, a mostly black section of Washington, at an arts center called THEARC, the students have gotten the opportunity to watch a dress rehearsal of “Swan Lake” with Mack and Copeland.

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