Acosta: Dealing With The Color Barrier

“The first black principal of the Royal Ballet, Carlos Acosta was adamant about not being typecast. He has been a pioneer in the extension of colour-blind casting from opera to classical ballet. ‘The fact that I’m the first black Romeo – and I make people forget it – is a big achievement,’ he says. ‘If they’d judged me for my looks, and put me in a box, the world would never have seen the Romeo that lies beneath me … In New York there are black dancers and their aspirations are constantly killed.’ Yet in his view, recruitment of black people into classical ballet, as opposed to contemporary dance, remains a problem.”