By Alyssa Pereira
5 November 2019
Some students with the Berkeley Ballet Theater found themselves out of an exciting opportunity to dance with a major international ballet company last week, following an uncomfortable exchange the East Bay dance company says it had with the Mariinsky Ballet over the latter’s staging of “La Bayadère” in Berkeley.
After the Mariinsky Ballet announced it would be performing “La Bayadère,” a 140-year-old ballet classic at Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus, some dance students were invited to perform alongside the professional company in two scenes.
One number caused some concern for the families of the young dancers. This part of the performance, called the “Golden Idol” dance (added to “La Bayadère” in 1941), has historically and notoriously included dancers wearing skin-darkening makeup, dark sleeves and tights to appear as “native fan bearers.”
When the BBT’s dancers were invited to take part, the theater agreed on the condition their students would not be painted in brownface.
Read the full article in SF Gate.