It appears increasingly that Black ballerinas are finally making substantial progress in the ballet world. Pressures for women in ballet have always been notoriously high in especially in terms of meeting beauty standards. It s no secret that many have engaged in extreme dieting, sometimes leading to full-blown eating disorders and body dysmorphia. Black ballerinas have faced pressures simply getting their feet in the door because these beauty standards included race, which no amount of dieting can change. Things have been getting better in the ballet with regard to sexism and now there appears to also be progress in terms of racism and misogynoir.
Ballerina Precious Adams has just been promoted to Junior Soloist at the English National Ballet, one of the foremost companies in the world. Adams has been with the company since 2014 when they reached out after her win at the Prix de Lausanne. Three years later she was promoted to First Artist tier.
Adams, who is currently twenty-four, still has a ways to go if she plans on staying at the English Ballet (which she may not). The English National Ballet in addition to the two tiers that Adams already reached they also have: Soloist. First Soloist, Character Artist, Principal, and Lead Principal.
Adams, who is the daughter of a dentist and orthodontist in Canton, Michigan has been candid about racism in the ballet world particularly when she went to train at Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy. She was often not cast in shows and was reportedly told to “try to rub the Black off.”
Since starting at the English National Ballet, she has also stated that she would mainly be wearing tights to match her own skin tone rather than the traditional pink or white customary in ballet, a decision some found controversial.
Adams has trained at prestigious schools, including Academy of Russian Classical Ballet Michigan, National Ballet School of Canada, Academy Princess Grace Monte Carlo and Bolshoi Ballet Academy. She has joined English National Ballet in 2014 and in 2017 was promoted to First Artist. critics, who gave her the Emerging Artist prize at 2018’s UK National Dance Awards
In 2019 Adams, who has what Dance Spirit Magazine has termed an “ultra-refined classical technique,” was added to the list of the BBC 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world. She also moonlights as a model.