In keeping with our statement of renewed commitment to the support and solidarity with the Black community, we as an organization have created an ever-growing catalog of active steps to be taken in order to better the experience of current and future students in our school. We recognize the history of institutional racism within our country and the dance industry, and strongly renounce those as a part of the culture of our school and art form. We wish to support and nurture Black members of the community that take part in our school in any way, as well as the Decatur at large.
We as an organization will not require or encourage students with various hair styles and textures to change these features of the individual self in ways that will be harmful or demeaning to any students. We believe that these steps can be taken while maintaining the integrity of a dress code that is a part of formal dance training. Furthermore, within an ever evolving dance world, we will be taking active steps to offer supplies that match all skin tones, body types, and physical limitations. These supplies will continue to be acceptable within the dress code, and encouraged in regards to dancers’ comfortability and well being. We will also be able to direct families to appropriate resources that will provide items not sold in our supply store, such as pointe shoes that match skin tones of Black and Brown dancers.
As part of steps to make Decatur School of Ballet a place that all dancers and students feel welcomed, uplifted, and encouraged, we will be taking active steps within the faculty and staff to discuss the sometimes negative connotations of the dancer’s body. We believe that those constructs are no longer valid within dance training, and should not be a variable in a dancers’ experience or promotion in our school. We also recognize that not all dancers will identify with given roles in regards to gender norms in relation to the history of dance. We as an organization and faculty invite dancers to have open discussions with their teachers in our school to ensure that true self expression is being preserved for each and every student, regardless of identification.
In these times, we believe that our community is in need of healing and support. As a part of our mission, we will continue to strive to reach communities of color. For our current and future students, Decatur School of Ballet will continue to endeavor to contract choreographers and instructors of color, including those with diverse movement backgrounds in forms beyond those primarily taught within our school. With this plan, we are striving to touch children and adults with and without access to arts education. By partnering with city services and school systems, we can design programming and scholarship funding geared toward areas in the most need of the endless benefits of arts education.
These are just some of the steps that as an organization we recognize need to be taken to move dance education forward in our world, and elevate the Black members and voices of our community. We however cannot do this alone. For the past 73 years, Decatur School of Ballet has been a beacon of community and education in the City of Decatur. We invite our ever-growing family to take part to further this mission.