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Black British Ballet
Illustration of three male dancers in splits from Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Our new children’s book in schools!

Onisere wants to be a ballet dancer but there’s just one problem: she’s black and she’s never seen any other ballet dancers who look like her. One night, her younger brother, Tayo, who has no interest in ballet at all, comes into her room and they are both swept away on a fantasy journey through the history of black British ballet.

Their guide on this journey is the decidedly grumpy ballet queen Simbira, who doesn’t particularly like children and yearns for her (long) past life as a ballerina. Simbira takes them on a journey that begins in 40’s London with Ballet Negres, goes up to Glasgow and Scottish Ballet, travels to New York and Dance Theatre of Harlem, stops off at the Los Angeles Olympics, then on to Mandela’s South Africa before returning to ballet companies in the UK.

Onisere and the Ballet Queen is written by Marsha Lowe and illustrated by Jazmin Lowe. The book is based on the PhD work of Dr Sandie Mae Bourne, whose research specialises in the historic underrepresentation of black professionals in British ballet.

Introduced by English National Ballet’s former Artistic Director, Tamara Rojo, this magical 32-page illustrated book will delight primary school children aged 4-8 years old and share an important lesson from these dance pioneers about following your dreams.

‘This fun, educational book is full of brilliant illustrations – perfect for
reading with children. It’s full of trailblazing and super talented black
ballet dancers who have proved that you can follow your dreams.’


For schools

We are offering the book to schools at a discounted price of £5 per copy for orders of 25 or more, a saving of almost 40% of the normal price.

We are also able to offer a limited number of workshops which comprise of a brief introduction to the history of black dancers in British ballet by Dr Sandie Bourne, an author reading and a movement based dance workshop, which introduces students to some of the basic ballet positions and explores what dance moves they may currently practise. These 45-60m sessions cost £120.

Please contact us at [email protected] for more information about either of these offers.

All proceeds from the sale of the book will support the Black British Ballet project.

Thank you!