Colorism: The Afro-Latina Identity

Thursday, August 20, 2020


Ballet Hispánico is providing a platform for Dancers to have a candid peer to peer conversation on Colorism: The Afro-Latina Identity. The evening's panel features influential Afro-Latina artists from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem and Ballet Hispánico. This discussion, the first in the series Dancers Conversations, unpacks and unleashes what identity and colorism means to them, the challenges they have faced, available resources, and ways to educate others. Dancers coming together with a purpose.

Moderator: Lenai Wilkerson

Lenai Wilkerson

Dancer, Ballet Hispánico

Lenai Alexis Wilkerson is from Washington, D.C. where she attended the Baltimore School for the Arts. Lenai graduated from the University of Southern California as a Glorya Kaufman scholar with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Political Science in 2019. She is one of the seven 2016-17 dance scholars to be awarded a scholarship from Nigel Lythgoe’s DizzyFeet Foundation. At USC Kaufman, Lenai performed the works of Forsythe, Kylián, Graham, Marshall, Barton, Balanchine, Grimes, and Rhoden, among others. Additionally, she has trained seasonally with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Bolshoi Ballet, Miami City Ballet and with legendary ballerina Suzanne Farrell. This is Lenai’s 1st season with Ballet Hispánico.

Panelists: Linda Celeste Sims, Belén Indhira Pereyra, Ingrid Silva, Gabrielle Sprauve

Linda Celeste Sims

Dancer, Teacher, Former Dancer at Ballet Hispánico and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Linda Celeste Sims (Bronx, NY) began training at Ballet Hispanico School of Dance and graduated from LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. Ms. Sims has received the 2016 Inspiracion Award from Ballet Hispanico, has won Outstanding Performance at the 2014 New York Dance and Performance Awards (“The Bessies”) and most recently, she received the 2017 Dance Magazine Award. Ms. Sims has been featured on the cover Dance Magazine, and on So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Mo'Nique Show, Live with Kelly and Michael, and The Today Show. Mrs. Sims has has appeared at the White House Series, Youth America Grand Prix, Vail International Dance Festival, and galas in Budapest and Vienna, and originated featured roles by Judith Jamison, Donald Byrd, Alonso King, Dwight Rhoden, Ronald K. Brown, Mauro Bigonzetti, Jennifer Muller, Karole Armitage, Lynn Taylor Corbett, Rennie Harris, Christopher L. Huggins, and Azure Barton. She teaches master classes around the world and is a certified Zena-Rommett Floor-Barre instructor. Mrs. Sims joined the Company in 1996 and is currently the assistant to the rehearsal director.

Belén Indhira Pereyra

Dancer, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

Belén Indhira Pereyra (Lawrence, MA) began training at Boston Arts Academy, where she graduated as valedictorian, and was a member of NIA Dance Troupe at Origination Cultural Arts Center. Upon moving to New York City, Ms. Pereyra was closely mentored by Earl Mosley and danced with Camille A. Brown & Dancers for three years, during which time she performed at The Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and Dancers Responding to AIDS’ annual events Dance from the Heart and The Fire Island Dance Festival. Ms. Pereyra was an apprentice for Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company, and has performed with Lula Washington Dance Theater, Nathan Trice, and Roger C. Jeffrey. She has been featured in Dance Magazine, Island Origins Magazine, Boston Magazine, and the Improper Bostonian. Ms. Pereyra is also certified in both SAFE® FLOOR and WISDOM Coaching for children. She assisted Matthew Rushing with Uptown for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2009 and joined the Company in 2011.

Ingrid Silva

Dancer, Dance Theatre of Harlem

Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil Ingrid Silva began ballet studies at the age of 8 at Projeto Dancando Para Nao Dancar. Silva studied at Escola de Danca Maria Olenewa, Centro de Movimento Debora Colker on full scholarship and at age seventeen joined Grupo Corpo as an apprentice. Silva attended the Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer Program on full scholarship in 2007, joined the Professional Training Program and Dancing Through Barriers Ensemble in 2008 and became a member of the professional Company in 2013. As guest artist, Silva performed with Dançando Para Não Dançar in Brasil, Armitage Gone!Dance, and The Francesca Harper Project. Silva’s work with choreographers includes Arthur Mitchell, Donald Byrd, John Alleyne, Darrel Grand Moltrie, Francesca Harper, Robert Garland, David Fernandez, Carol Armitage, Deborah Colker, Rodrigo Pederneiras, Annabelle Lopes Ochoa and many others. With Dance Theatre of Harlem Silva has danced Principal roles in George Balanchine's Glinka Pas de Trois, Agon and Valse Fantaisie, Robert Garland’s Return, Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven and John Alleyne’s Far but Close. Soloist roles include Alvin Ailey's Lark Ascending, Donald Byrd’s Contested Space, and Darrel Grand Moltrie’s Vessels and Harlem on my mind. In 2016 Silva was part of Activia campaign and was also nominated the brand's Global Ambassador embracing Women's Empowerment. In 2017 Silva was on the cover of Pointe Magazine (June/July Issue), being the first African Brazilian to be on the cover. She is the Founder of EmpowHer NY that was born to foster the will for change within you.

Our goal has always been to create a safe environment for people to share their history in a judgment-free zone, encouraging dialogue in an empathetic term. We are a platform that generates opportunities for education and network for those aspiring to claim their own path. She’s also the CoFounder of Blacks in Ballet with the purpose of highlighting black ballet dancers and sharing their stories. Every black ballet dancer has a different background, a different path, a different story to tell, and that's what we want to share with the world!

Gabrielle Sprauve

Dancer, Ballet Hispánico

Gabrielle Sprauve was born in Queens, NY and raised in Savannah, GA where she attended Savannah Arts Academy for the Performing Arts, studying at the Ailey School and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance during the summers. She earned her BFA at Marymount Manhattan College in 2017. While at Marymount, Gabrielle performed works by Larry Keigwin, Alexandra Damiani, Norbert De La Cruz, Paul Taylor, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Adam Barruch, and Jo Strømgren. This is Gabrielle’s 3rd season with Ballet Hispánico.

Colorism: The Afro-Latina Identity

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