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This ballerina alleged racism at her company. Now, Chloé Lopes Gomes says it's time for change

February 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 46.9%. 2 min read.

Chloé Lopes Gomes went public last year about the racism she says she endured at Berlin's Staatsballett, where she was the company's first Black dancer. Exclusively for CNN Style, she writes about what needs to change within the world of ballet.

In 2018 I became the first Black ballet dancer to join Berlin's principal ballet company, the Staatsballett.

Joining this kind of ballet institution was my dream -- it's one of the best in the world.

I believe it's because of the complaints I have made about the racist comments and unfair treatment that I have endured from my ballet mistress, though the company has said the decision was made for "artistic reasons. " After trying to handle the issue internally, I went public with my story to Der Spiegel, The Guardian and the New York Times.

Such behavior is institutionalized within ballet, from the time that we are children and begin our training.

We start ballet very young, often when we are just seven or eight years old.

Ballet masters should treat dancers respectfully and with kindness.

The power that institutions give to the ballet masters is undeniable -- at the end of the day, they are the ones who are with us in the studio and they are the ones who give us the opportunity to improve within the company.

And the ballet world is very small.

Ballet is still designed for White dancers, down to the shoes and makeup we wear.

Nude-colored ballet shoes for Black dancers didn't exist until 2018.

The ballet world needs to change, and we have the chance to do so now, while the art form has been thrown into crisis during the coronavirus pandemic.

In ballet, which is still primarily White and elitist, we have to make it more accessible, and we can do that by making it a more inclusive and equitable art form.

We should attract talented and diverse young dancers in ballet schools and begin to remake ballet companies from the ground up to reflect the multicultural world we live in.

They took out loans for what my scholarship didn't cover when I attended the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia, following in the footsteps of two of my siblings, who are also dancers.

I believe we have to democratize ballet in order to ensure its future.

If ballet companies welcome more people of all backgrounds to attend its shows, more young people will fall in love with it.

If ballet school directors make it their duty to seek out and nurture those aspiring dancers, and level the playing field regardless of race or income level, diverse dancers will enter the ranks.

They will eventually become ballet masters, attracting and educating more dancers of color.

Ballet prizes uniformity within its dancers.

We are currently looking into the matter, having reached out to Chloé and the make up departments. " The Staatsballett did not offer further comment on the reason for Gomes' dismissal or the assertions against her ballet master, but the following statement is published on the company's website.

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