The Black Ballerina

May 25, 2017

George Balanchine observing as Debra Austin performs Ballo Della Regina.
Credit Steven Caras

African-American women have fought against discrimination in the ballet world for decades. Debra Austin was the first black ballerina to become a principal dancer in a major American dance company. She broke through the racial barrier, but her career was not without challenges.


She is the guest of honor at an upcoming event co-hosted by the Triangle Friends of African American Arts and the North Carolina Museum of History. The event includes a screening of the film “Black Ballerina.” Host Frank Stasio speaks with Austin about her career. He also talks with Sherri Holmes, founder and director of the Triangle Friends of African American Arts. The event “The Black Ballerina Experience With Debra Austin” takes place Sunday, June 4 at 2 p.m. at the North Carolina Museum of History