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Angela Watson, A Black Ballerina, other than Misty Copeland, is also Changing the Face of Ballet
September 19, 2023

Posted Courtesy of Wright Enterprises Community Spotlight San Francisco ~ Dallas ~~~

PRESS RELEASE

Media Contact: CECO Management | Carolyn Evans, Manager | cevans5613@aol.com | 510.385.6364

*****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*****

 

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

 

Angela Watson, A Black Ballerina, other than Misty Copeland, who is also Changing the Face of Ballet, is Guesting in Oakland Premiere of FLOWER Film Event

 

            On Friday, September 29th at 7pm at Oakland Paramount Theatre, Oakland Ballet Company and Life in Motion Productions presents the Oakland Premiere of Flower, a short film starring and produced by international ballet trailblazer Misty Copeland. The film provides a non-dialog artistic impression of the homeless, unhoused and deteriorated medical conditions of a community of Black and Brown people bombarded by the impacts of gentrification.

One of the pinnacles of the event is the live performance featuring Our Very Own Oakland Bay Area American Ballerina Angela Watson (appears courtesy of San Francisco Ballet Tamara Rojo Artistic Director), the newest member of the corps de ballet at SFB and the new future of ballet who is expected to ascend into the pantheon of principal dancers at SFB. 

Angela Watson is a Black Ballerina, other than Misty Copeland, who is also changing the Face of Ballet demonstrated by her successful journey with SFB and by Oakland Ballet Company’s invitation to be a VIP Guest Performer of the Oakland Premiere of Flower, a very high-profile position for any rising ballet professional. Guesting for a company outside of a ballerina’s home company is indicative of respect as a professional in the world of ballet.

In 2015, nearly a decade ago now, Misty Copeland ascended into the pantheon of principal dancers at the American Ballet Theatre. As a pioneer her start illuminates, but she is not the only Black ballerina blazing new trails. Black women are quietly shattering stereotypes and scaling the ranks of predominantly white ballet companies. These include Olivia Boisson NYC Ballet, Michaela DePrince Boston Ballet, Precious Adams English National Ballet, Jasmine Perry Los Angeles Ballet, Francesca Hayward The Royal Ballet, Awa Joannais Paris Opera Ballet, Nicole Zadra Hong Kong Ballet, Kathlyn Addison Ballet West, Dara Holmes The Joffrey Ballet, and Chyrstyn Fentroy Boston Ballet, to name a few.

Joining the list of trailblazers changing the face of ballet is the new future of ballet, Angela Watson San Francisco Ballet. Watson is the first Black ballerina to enter the rank of corps de ballet with the company in over a decade since Kimberly Braylock in 2010. Braylock retired in 2020 just before the shuttering of the world from the COVID pandemic leaving Watson as the only African American ballerina rising through the ranks of the SF Ballet company. These women, too, have inspirational ballerina tales that must be shared, because as Misty Copeland proves, there is power in visibility.

Moving through her journey to become a professional ballerina, Watson stopped along her pathway first at Oakland’s Shawl-Anderson Dance Center then Oakland Ballet Company School followed by Oakland School for the Arts where she first received formal ballet technique training at age 12 by OSA School of Dance artistic director Reginald Ray Savage and ballet master Alison Hurley (both now retired). After 18 months of training, Watson was quickly identified in the ballet world as a prodigy of ballet and offered a spot in the most prestigious training programs around the globe, including Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Kerov Ballet Academy, Boston Ballet, The Ailey School, Joffrey Academy of Dance, ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, Alonzo King Lines Ballet Training Program and traveled to train on scholarship with the Paris Opera Ballet School. During the pandemic Watson also had the opportunity to train with The Royal Ballet School.

In 2016, Watson accepted a full scholarship offer to train with SF Ballet School, the first American classical ballet school and one of the finest training programs in the world, year-round and danced the leading role, Clara, in the Nutcracker for the next two seasons as a pre-professional SFBS David Palmer Student Scholar. This is when Watson, then only 14, and Copeland first crossed paths and gained personal mutual acknowledgement of the uphill climb they were both experiencing as Black ballerinas. Watson continued her journey up the ranks of the school and earned a spot in the coveted 2021 SFBS International Professional Training Program. She advanced to apprentice the year after and in 2023 she was promoted and became the only Black ballerina to advance as a member of the main company in the corps de ballet. Watson is the only African American holding a spot in the corps and was promoted alongside five Asian ballerinas (2 SFB apprentices and 3 outside international recruits).

Watson also debuted a new work, Reciprocity with music by award winning Christopher Willis a major motion picture composer in Watson’s envelope of artistic collaborators, as a SFB Helgi Tómasson Choreographic Fellow in 2022 which captivated the audience at YBCA Blue Shield of California Theatre in SF during the 2022 SFBS Spring Dance Festival and Gala which is an annual event that supports funding for SFBS scholarships and other school activities that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Watson also has a long history of participating in many other charitable activities, giving back to her communities throughout the Bay Area and beyond, including KTVU One Warm Coat, Oakland Elizabeth House, and St. Mary’s Senior Shelter.

As a member of SFBS/SFB, Watson has danced a myriad of roles. Included in her portfolio are featured roles in Nutcracker, Cinderella, Swan Lake, La Sylphide, Giselle, next@90 Festival (Violin Concerto/Haffner Symphony), Don Quixote, Symphony in C and other SFB programs. During the upcoming 2024 SFB Season, new artistic director Tamara Rojo’s inaugural season, you can expect to see Watson perform in programs including Nutcracker (Dec. 13-30), Mere Mortals (Jan. 26-Feb. 1), British Icons (Feb. 9-15), Swan Lake (Feb. 23-Mar. 3), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mar. 12-23), next@90 encores (Apr. 2-13) and Dos Mujeres (Apr. 4-14).

Tickets for Oakland Premiere of Flower available at www.oaklandballet.org/flower

Tickets for SFBallet Nutcracker and 2024 Season lineup available at www.sfballet.org


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