Viewpointes is an initiative by Richmond Ballet meant to bring continued dialogue around topics relating to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As an expression of Richmond Ballet’s commitment to active and ongoing learning which supports the creation of a culture that is reflective of all people, Viewpointes showcases diverse voices from within our organization and community.
To learn more about Richmond Ballet’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, visit rvaballetdev.wpengine.com/dei and stay tuned for more episodes to come.
EPISODE ONE – THE MANY PATHWAYS TO BALLET
Episode One features Jordan Glunt, Richmond Ballet’s Minds In Motion Director, Monica Ross, part-time evening receptionist at Richmond Ballet and School of Richmond Ballet parent, and Ira White, Richmond Ballet company dancer, who discuss their varied experiences entering the world of Ballet.
EPISODE TWO – COSTUME DESIGN: HISTORY VS. EQUITY
In this special two-part episode of Viewpointes, Richmond Ballet Costume Director Emily Morgan chats with Tony and Emmy-award winning Costume Designer, Paul Tazewell. Paul has designed costumes for theatre, dance, opera, film and television for nearly 30 years. You may be familiar with his work as Costume Designer for Hamilton and the movie Harriet, filmed in Virginia.
In part one of Costume Design: History vs. Equity, Emily and Paul touch on a variety of topics relating to costume design including the need for greater equity and access in costume departments in performing arts organizations, more inclusive representation of classic costume designs as well as the importance of flesh tone tights and shoes.
In part two of Costume Design: History vs. Equity, Emily and Paul touch on a variety of topics relating to costume design including the social and economic barriers for BIPOC artists in costume design, overcoming sexism and negative stereotypes in costume design, and the need for more diversity in all areas of professional ballet so that representation overlaps departments and flows within the organization.
EPISODE THREE – The Next Generation: Black Men in Ballet
Episode Three features three Black, male-identifying dancers in different stages of their dancing careers. Guests include former Richmond Ballet company dancer, Thomas Ragland who spent 18 years at Richmond Ballet, joining the School of Richmond Ballet in 1993 and the professional company in 2007. He retired from the stage in 2017. After his time at Richmond Ballet, Thomas moved to New York City and danced for Jessica Lang Dance prior to retiring from the stage in 2019. Joining Thomas is Ronald “RJ” Wagstaff, a current dancer in Richmond Ballet’s second company, RBll, and Tarique Logan currently in his third year in the Richmond Ballet trainee program. Our guests discuss their shared and varied experiences being Black men in ballet, what inspired them to pursue dance, and how the increased social awareness around racial justice has impacted their dancing and their lives.
EPISODE FOUR – Activism through the Arts
Episode Four, moderated by NBC12 news anchor Jasmine Turner, features 4 BIPOC artists who used their artistic mediums to express themselves and to inspire change during the Black Lives Matter movement in Richmond during the summer of 2020. They discuss their experiences, what it meant to them to be a part of the movement, and how their art led them to high recognition.
EPISODE Five – Finding Hope: A conversation with Levi Marsman and Ma Cong
Our first season of Viewpointes culminates with a conversation between Boston-based choreographer, dancer, and teacher Levi Marsman and Richmond Ballet's Associate Artistic Director, Ma Cong. Levi and Ma discuss the challenges of choreographing during a pandemic, the outlook for performing arts post-pandemic, using ballet to speak to social and racial justice movements, and the importance of the arts to express and inspire hope.