Tuesday, November 29, 2022

KOKOnista Of The Day: Chloé Lopes Gomes Is The Black Dancer Who Won’t Let Racism And Harassment Stop Her Ballerina Dreams

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Chloé Lopes Gomes was the first black dancer hired by the prestigious German ballet company Staatsballet in 2018 and has been the victim of racism almost straight away.

Chloé Lopes Gomes was the first black female dancer at Berlin’s principal ballet company and was repeatedly told she did not fit in because of her skin colour.

Chloé Lopes Gomes, a French citizen, who joined the Staatsballett as a corps de ballet member in 2018, faced recurrent racial abuse from her ballet mistress.
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She recently revealed how the company is institutional racist after managers failed to act even after various incidents were brought to their attention.

Lopes Gomes, 29, said the dance teacher forced her to wear white makeup to “blend in” with other dancers in Swan Lake, and she had refused to give her a white veil for a performance of La Bayadére, telling her: “It’s because you’re black.” 
She said the teacher repeatedly told her her skin colour was not aesthetically acceptable and used her to recreate a painting of a black dancer surrounded by white dancers, telling her she would show her friends that the company “also has one of those”.

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She said that an atmosphere of fear at the company, which was typically found throughout the dance world, “meant that whilst my fellow dancers often felt uncomfortable at my treatment they were mostly too scared to speak up.”

The 29-year-old claims her instructor demanded that she use makeup to whiten her skin for Swan Lake and refused to give her a white veil along with everyone else because of the colour of her skin.

The French ballerina did not speak English or German when she first went to work in Berlin, but was able to communicate with her instructor in Russian as she had trained at Russia’s prestigious Bolshoi Ballet.

She said this is why none of her classmates were able to hear the instructor’s comments.

The ballet mistress also allegedly made her pose to recreate a painting of a black dancer surrounded by white dancers.

The dancer said she told the company’s co-artistic director at the time about her teacher’s actions, and he responded saying she should never be forced to whiten her skin.

But he also allegedly said he could not do anything about it because the instructor had a lifetime contract. However that is not stopping Lopes Gomes in chasing her dreams to becoming a ballerina. Photo Credit: Getty

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