The Brazilian dancer was part of the Dance Theater of Harlem, the first black ballet company.
Formerly an attraction associated with the nobility, ballet is still considered - several centuries after its emergence - to be an elitist cultural product. This is buttressed by the fact that most ballet dancers are white - including in Brazil, a country where 55% of the people say they are black or brown, according to 2016 data from the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics).
"Ballet is a very aristocratic art, it began like that and it never changed. There's always been the idea that black women don't have the ballerina's ideal body, that they don't have the same aptitude for precise and light movements. These ideas are absurd, but they don't disappear. The number of black people in ballet is still small," says Rejane Duarte, 45.
Read more in Folha de S. Paulo