This Ballerina's Shattering Stereotypes in Her New Role as Beauty Queen
@daphne732 via Instagram
Daphne Lee is a queen, and not just in the "OMG Girl Boss Alert" sense of the word. She's an actual queen—a beauty queen. Crowned Miss Black USA in August, she's been doing double duty as she continues to dance with the Memphis based dance company, Collage Dance Collective. Lee's new title has given her the means to encourage other black girls and boys to pursue their dreams, while also pursuing dreams of her own. The scholarship money awarded with the pageant title will assist her as she earns a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Hollins University.
In a recent interview with Allure, Lee discussed her new platform as a pageant queen and how she hopes to inspire the next generation.
"As a black woman, as a black dancer, I can do many different styles and this body is an instrument," Lee said. "I'm showing the black body in a different light—in a way that's positive, in a way that's different, but also staying true to my roots."
Lee goes on to point out that her physical features are unusual in the world of ballet, where Eurocentric beauty standards have been the norm. By owning the characteristics that make her unique in the world of ballet, she's become an activist. The New Jersey native described how she's using her art form as a medium to challenge the status quo.
"When I do photoshoots I make sure that I show that yes, I'm a black ballerina, but I can show unique styles that can benefit staying true to myself, [while] also staying true to the classical form," Lee told Allure.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Liz Imperio teaching at Hollywood Vibe, Courtesy of Hollywood Vibe
It's an increasingly common scenario: A talented dancer wins big at a competition, is offered an assistantship with a famous faculty member, and ends up leaving her hometown studio to travel with a convention. Convention-hopping has obvious benefits. Every event generates new content for dancers to post on social media, gives them a better shot at ending up on their favorite choreographers' accounts, lets them learn from the best of the best, and helps them make valuable connections. "Traveling is a great way for dancers to gain admirers around the country," says Jen Jarnot, owner of Artistic Fusion Dance Academy in Thornton, CO. "That's something every dancer craves." So it's no surprise that weekend FOMO has been blazing through studios like wildfire.
But is this jet-setter lifestyle really the most effective road to take? Can weekends of dancing with top talent truly replace the bread and butter of daily work at your home studio? The answer, according to most industry experts, is no. We asked five pros to explain why.