Michaela DePrince, Calvin Royal III Discuss Ballet, Race and Staying Healthy in COVID Times

Gabe Zaldivar

Representation remains one of the more important gifts we can give our youth. To see the possibilities in front of them, to show them that they too can succeed instead of just telling them: that is truly priceless.

This week we speak with two paragons of the stage, Michaela DePrince and Calvin Royal III.

Both don’t only bring grace and power to the screen but a captivating story of how they found themselves among the most prominent dancers in the world.

As we discover, it’s not an easy journey. The ballet world may be vibrant and captivating, but it’s also archaic in its structure.

The art remains prohibitively expensive and continues to be stuck in a world its own when it comes to race.

DePrince explains how revolutionary it was to find herself dancers of color: “It was amazing to be surrounded by people that looked like me; it was amazing to feel comfortable in my own skin, to wear brown tights, to not feel like I'm two different people.”

Royal also spoke to us about his evolution as a dancer. He is also grappling with the tremendous blow that is missing an entire season, which is what happened earlier this year when the global pandemic first hit.

“We have such a short window,” Royal III said. “But we are doing as best as we can in our homes, living rooms and in our kitchen during this time. But just to miss one season is huge for us because that time is so precious.”

The two discuss dance, arduous training regimens and, of course, dealing with it all during a COVID pandemic that has turned this world upside down.

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