By Moira Macdonald
31 July 2019
Zariyah Quiroz is just 12, but she’s had a dream since she was a very little girl: “I always thought dance, and ballet specifically, was so beautiful,” she said, chatting before class at Pacific Northwest Ballet School (PNB) earlier this summer, “and I wanted to be part of that.”
A rising seventh grader who’s studied at PNB since 2015, Zariyah, who lives in Seattle, has many of the attributes that seem essential for a career in a professional ballet company: long limbs, elegant posture and innate poise, not to mention a supportive family willing to commit to five-days-a-week classes at PNB. But the road to that goal isn’t easy for any young dancer. And it’s especially difficult for students of color, like Zariyah, who look at ballet stages and see few, if any, dancers who look like them.
The visibility of Misty Copeland, who in 2015 became the first black female principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre, has been an inspiration for Zariyah — and has elevated a jarring truth in this most graceful of arts. Though he’s beginning to see change, “ballet in my lifetime has been very white,” said PNB artistic director Peter Boal, who danced with New York City Ballet (NYCB) from 1983 to 2005.
Read the full article in The Seattle Times.