In recent years, women of color have been successful in breaking through the traditional barriers of the ballet world. In particular, Misty Copeland paved the way for many young ballerinas of color to take the center stage. Now, there is a new woman taking the ballet world by storm. At 24-years-old, Alison Stroming is turning heads as a dancer with the historic Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York.
Stroming was adopted from Recife, Brazil at just four months old and started dancing at the age of 3. Years later, she was accepted into The School of American Ballet, where she began her formal ballet training at age 9. From there, she went on to attend the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) Summer Intensive in 2004, and received a full scholarship from The JKO School at ABT to the new junior division where she continued her studies. While in this school, she performed at iconic venues such as The Julliard School, Guggenheim Museum, City Center, The Metropolitan Opera House, and The Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C.
After her training was complete, Stroming toured with The American Ballet II in Europe from 2010-2011 and danced two seasons with Alberta Ballet in Canada. She also performed as a soloist in Sarah McLachlan’s Hope Rising! Concert. Finally, she moved on to Ballet San Jose, and is now with Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York. Here is a recent video of Stroming rehearsing the famous Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux with choreography by George Balanchine: https://youtu.be/GraN4wGXVzk
Perhaps a love for dance came naturally to Stroming because she was brought up in a family of dancers. For instance, her older brother Gil, who is a professional tap dancer, is also the founder of Break the Floor Productions which directs Jump Dance Convention, Nuvo Dance Convention, The Dance Awards, and Shaping Sound.
In addition to ballet, Stroming is also a working model, which made her the perfect focus for Tumi Luggage’s “Strength is Beauty, Beauty is Strength” campaign. https://youtu.be/onhgDnslHgY Stroming has pursued modeling almost as long as dance, but ballet always comes first in her life. “Modeling helps with stage presence and confidence, “said Stoming to Pointe Magazine in 2015. Before she signed with Bloc Talent Agency, Stroming booked all her modeling gigs simply by promoting herself on social media.
When asked by PopSugar Fitness why she thought people were falling in love with ballet again, Stroming said, “Dance is universal. Through movement, you get to tell a story, and I think so many people can relate and connect to that.” She also mentioned that both Misty Copeland’s Under Armour campaign and social media have helped ballet to evolve because they created increased visibility that continue to inspire young dancers to follow in their idols’ footsteps. Lastly, Stroming mentioned that ballet companies were also evolving in the fact that they were not just performing classical ballet anymore. They have added contemporary ballet to their repertoire too.
When I watched my first video of Stroming dance, she immediately impressed me, then to hear her story only added to her “wow” factor. Her story shows all young ballerinas that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. From where Stroming started, to where she is now, is truly an amazing accomplishment that is only a testament to her drive and determination. I also believe that dancers like Stroming have a lot to do with why people are falling in love with ballet all over again.