Pointe Black’s journey is a testament to the importance of representation in the world of ballet and the positive impact it has on aspiring dancers. Alishia Abodunde’s documentary work captures the growth and transformation of students who, by participating in Pointe Black, find a space where they can express themselves authentically. Abodunde’s images and interviews showcase their dedication and the supportive environment fostered by Ruth Essel.
Essel’s own experiences as a young Black ballet dancer navigating predominantly white spaces drove her to establish Pointe Black in 2020. Remarkably, she manages the school entirely on her own, teaching her students, organizing showcases, and even handling the music.
Despite the lack of external funding, Essel pours her heart and soul into the school to provide her students with the best possible ballet education.
Since the publication of Abodunde’s story by Reuters in early October, Pointe Black has garnered attention from all corners of the globe. Essel’s dedication has inspired donations from supporters worldwide, while parents are reaching out to see how their children can become part of this inspirational dance school.
In addition to raising awareness, the story serves as a testament to the power of representation in the arts and how it encourages young artists to follow their dreams when they see themselves reflected in the world around them.