Aesha Ash’s “Black Swan Diaries”

In my last post, on NYCB’s Swan Lake, I railed against what I saw as race-based casting, which led to a good discussion on race in ballet thanks to some very smart commenters! Marie mentioned the ballerina who’d been with NYCB and it made me nuts that I’d momentarily forgotten her name. So, I did an internet search and found her – Aesha Ash – via Eva Yaa Asantewaa. It turns out she’s just started her own blog, Black Swan Diaries. She has some really good posts up already, about dancing Arabian in NYCB’s Nutcracker, and about touring Brazil, amongst other things. So another addition to your blog reading!

Photo above from here.


  1. While, interesting and I intend to keep reading, I have a problem already with her second post (and she’s not the first one to say this either) but she writes “A view that put a premium on alabaster skin, long straight hair, fine features and stick thin physiques. I wanted to wear my hair natural and embrace my own, unique identity. ”

    It’s not just African American women who feel this. It’s EVERY women in American who isn’t that. I have curly hair and I’ve grown to accept it (haven’t fully embraced it yet but I’m getting there) but there are days when I hated it and I tried to keep my hair as straight as possible. Whats the difference? I’m “technically” white (I hate this term though so lets not go there ;)). While I get her point, I get annoyed that she assumes that white women don’t have cultural identities to struggle with.

    • Dear Katrina,

      I was alerted to this blog because of the appearance of my name. I am happy to have found it as I would have not seen your response. Let me first start by saying that I absolutely agree with you and I am sorry you were annoyed by my choice of wording. EVERY WOMAN in the world has to struggle with identity issues. If it’s not, “10 Days To A Thinner You” it’s “Look Younger With Theses 10 Steps.” My blog is about my experience and what I felt as a woman of color in the ballet world. I cannot speak for anyone else. I wanted a place to share my feelings and open a conversation. I think the one you have started is extremely interesting. I think you are not the only one who feels this way, but you had the courage to say it. I applaud that.

      I think instead of focusing on our differences we should focus on what brings us together. I think this is a completely different discussion on how the image of beauty in general is completely distorted, which bring women of any race to struggle to with personal identity. I began my blog because of the constant emails I would receive from dancers of color seeking advice and sharing with me stories of struggle. I wanted them to know that they were not alone.

      • Thank you so much for commenting here, Ms. Ash! I love your new blog (as well as your dancing, of course) and think it’s going to be so helpful to many people.

Comments are closed