In honor of Black History Month, we shone a light on the work of those who paved the way for Black dancers in Ballet. Now, we’d like to introduce you to the Black artists who are currently making history at Charlotte Ballet. Read our interview with Raven Barkley.


Favorite Quote:

“But still, like air, I’ll rise” -Maya Angelou

Who inspired you to become a dancer?

My first inspiration is my mom. She is the epitome of strength, courage, and wisdom, and is always a beacon of support. Along with my mother, my teachers and choreographers I’ve worked with have been inspirations as well. Some include Arthur Mitchell, Andrea Long, Virginia Johnson, Michelle Lucci, Robert Garland, and Helen Pickett. I’m constantly in awe of the work they’ve done and continue to do in society. I’m forever grateful for the patience and time they’ve all taken to mold me into the artist I am today.  As a young dancer growing up at the Dance Theatre of Harlem School, I was also captivated by the beautiful dancers of color that stood in front of me. On occasion, I was able to take class with them and witness their artistry firsthand.

Favorite performance at Charlotte Ballet:

One of my favorite performances is dancing the female solo in the “Winter” section of Sasha Janes’ Four Seasons.

Get-Up-and-Go song:

I have a vast get up-and-go playlist, but two of my favorite songs that I HAVE to listen to are “Already” by Beyonce, Shatta Wale and Major Lazer, and “Work” by Rihanna.

Favorite comfort food right now:

Soul Food. I love some good fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and collard greens. I don’t eat soul food often, so when I do, I certainly savor the flavor.

Cutest outfit you haven’t been able to wear because of COVID-19 restrictions:

I have a couple of cute outfits in my closet that I’ve recently had the urge to wear. In the effort to fulfill this desire (at this point in the quarantine), I’ve started wearing a majority of my cute/favorite outfits to run errands.

Photo 1 by Todd Rosenberg