Over the holidays retired Judge James A.W. McLeod decided to go and see a local production of the Nutcracker which was being performed by the Buffalo City Ballet. “It was a fantastic performance,” recalled McLeod. “It was clear that Executive Director Marvin Askew put a lot of work into it and it was financed completely by him. I was impressed!”
So much so that he contacted a “very good friend” who just happened to be the aunt of trailblazing Black Ballerina Misty Copeland.
“ I told my friend what I had seen and how great these students were and how I believed they needed some encouragement above and beyond what Mr. askew had so beautifully done.”
He then asked her to send his copy of the program to Misty and ask her to autograph it or send back a note or something that might be given to the company
“I was blown away by her response. Instead of a note she sent an autographed photo of herself with the inscription: “To Brown Girls of Buffalo City Ballet, my best, Misty Copeland.” McLeod had the photo framed and made a presentation to Mr. Askew and six pretty,beaming little ballerinas a week ago. The image will hang in the studio.
“These kids now have something special,” he continued. “Hopefully a line of communication opens up to help keep these young girls and boys Interested in ballet. And who knows, added McLeod? A visit by Misty herself may even be in the works someday!
He applauded her sensitivity and immediate response. “It shows her dedication – especially to this company of young African Americans. She knows the trials and tribulations she had to go through – and she took the time out to do something to keep them encouraged.”
-About Buffalo City Ballet-
Buffalo Inner City Ballet was developed to give inner city youths from the undeserved community the opportunity to take part in comprehensive summer and after school dance training in the art of classical ballet. Buffalo Inner City Ballet provides daily classes to primarily young girls between the ages 3 and 18 years with no prior experience in dance. Training offers a wide scope of cultural awareness through dance to minority youths, as well as non-minority who show an interest in learning dance.
Classes are offered in Pre-Tots, Beginners Ballet, Pointe works for girls through Intermediate and boys’ ballet.
The school is now located at 307 Leroy Avenue and celebrating 50 years of service to the community, our doors have remained open throughout the pandemic. Executive Director, Marvin Askew began dancing with the Buffalo Inner City Ballet under the tutelage of Karl Singletary, the founder.
For more information call 716-833-1243.
City Ballet Students