FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD BALLERINA ADVOCATES FOR EQUALITY IN BALLET

Generation Z is proving more and more everyday that they are ready to lead and answer the call of taking our world into the age of inclusivity and advocacy through using their voices and talent to make history. One such role model who is using her voice to bring about change in the world of ballet is 15-year-old Amaya Joseph. 

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When she was just 13-years-old, Joseph made history as the first black Clara in the Orlando Ballet’s Nutcracker. Realizing that her voice was as powerful as her talent, the young ballerina created an online community which advocates for ballerinas of color. 

Using her platform and notoriety, Joseph has been a brand ambassador for various brands such as Discount Dance, Brown Girls Do Ballet, and Ballet in the City. Additionally, she has called on the industry to create skin toned tights for dancers of color. 

“Everyone wants to have nice lines and look their best,” Joseph said in a recent interview with thedailyfern.com, “Dancers of color should have the opportunity to wear skin toned tights and look their best.”

Joseph is standing on the shoulders of dancers that have inspired her such as Misty Copeland and Michaela DePrince. The past summer, DePrince posted a photo series on Instagram featuring black dancers with the caption, “Keep proving them wrong,” and Joseph was one of them. 

Joseph is unquestionably making a name for herself in the world of ballet. At the beginning of the year, she participated in the world’s largest ballet competition, Youth America Grand Prix, and placed 12th in the Junior Age Division Classical Category. Additionally, in the Junior Age Division Contemporary Dance Category, dancing to a piece choreographed by Chiaki Yasukawa, Joseph placed 2nd. 

Yasukawa commented on her Instagram, “I Choreographed an African (with some Latin fusion) contemporary piece for @amayatheballerina45 this year. She made me proud not only receiving 2nd place @yagp but also presenting her culture with pride! Let’s Watch, listen and learn.”

Joseph has been awarded several scholarships to ballet schools, although she hasn’t committed to any as of yet.  “I am not committed to anything at this time,” Joseph said in her interview, “I am just open to seeing what opportunities come my way in the future.”

We cannot wait to see what the future holds for this amazing young lady. We have a feeling that it is going to be nothing but bright! 

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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