Philadelphia Ballet presents ‘A Conversation With Five Pioneering Black Ballerinas’

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Pictured are Lydia Abarca-Mitchell, Karlya Shelton-Benjamin, Marcia Lynn Sells, Gayle McKinney-Griffith and Sheila Rohan.
Hughe Dillon

HughE Dillon is a Philadelphia-based photographer and creator of the PhillyChitChat blog. Follow him on Twitter @HughE_Dillon and on Instagram @PhillyChitChat.


Philadelphia Ballet hosted ‘A Conversation With Five Pioneering Black Ballerinas’ at the Bellevue Hotel on Monday. Legendary dancers Lydia Abarca Mitchell, Sheila Rohan, Gayle McKinney-Griffith, Karlya Shelton Benjamin, and Marcia Lynn Sells — founding members and stars of the Dance Theatre of Harlem — shared their inspiring stories and encouraged the next generation of dancers.

The Benefit Dinner also celebrated the legacy of those who have inspired Black excellence in dance, including Pennsylvania Ballet Alumni Meredith Rainey, Joseph Malbrough, and Ramón Flowers. There was a featured performance by Nayara Lopes, and guests enjoyed dessert and coffee during the moderated panel discussion hosted by NBC10’s Jacqueline London.

Joseph Marlborough, Nikkia Parrish, Nardia Boodoo, Heidi Cruz-Austin, Meredith Rainey and Ramon Flowers all Pennsylvania Black Alumni Honorees.
Jacqueline London, NBC10

ALL IMAGES BY HUGHE DILLON

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