On last night’s episode of “Breaking Pointe,” the casting decisions for Cinderella were made, and with them came a tidal wave of drama and emotions for everyone at Ballet West. Along with showing the awkward mix of disappointment and happiness that comes with every casting, the episode also addressed the effects of ballet’s lack of diversity.
After Ballet West II member Zach is cast in the role of Napoleon, corps member Josh worries why a second company dancer was chosen over him. Josh approaches artistic director Adam Sklute with his concern, and Adam reveals that his reason for not choosing Josh as Napoleon had nothing to do with his dance ability: In the ballet, Napoleon is the butt of everyone’s joke, and he didn’t want to make a joke out of the one African American male dancer in the company. Although Josh says he understands where Adam is coming from, he responds that he wants people to see beyond his color and doesn’t think race should still be an issue.
Since Josh’s first appearance in the season two premiere, it was clear he was a strong character with a forceful story. It’s intriguing—though heartbreaking—to see him face an obstacle to which many dancers of color can relate, and it will be exciting to see how the show continues with this plot line.