Resources to Promote Understanding of Systemic Racism

At Canada's National Ballet School (NBS), we have heard from students, staff, parents and the wider NBS community about the importance of deepening our understanding of histories and contexts that get to the heart of systemic racism. Below, we offer only a small handful of historical, cultural and contemporary resources to support each of us in our personal education, which can be deeply personal journeys. This is not an exhaustive list. We look forward to this continued conversation and welcome recommendations on other resources to add to this list (please e-mail


Please note: We recognize that each Canadian represents an intersection of many identities. NBS will continue to pursue education and policies that foster and promote equity and inclusion for those who have been historically under-represented such as members of racialized groups (Indigenous, Black, People of Colour (IBPOC)); the LGBTQ+ community; and persons living with disability/ies.


Assemblée Internationale 2023 (AI23) Learning Session Resources

From October 2022 to April 2023, a series of online panels, keynotes, discussions and education activities will be presented to participating organizations in the lead up to AI23 (learn more about AI23). Speakers have been referring to terrific resources through their sessions and we are pleased to compile this growing list of resources here.


Dr. Howard C. Stevenson’s Resources


Milagros Phillips’ RACE LITERACY Resource List

  • Cracking the Healer’s Code: A Prescription for Healing Racism & Finding Wholeness, by Milagros Phillips
  • Cracking the Healer’s Code Journal, by Milagros Phillips
  • 8 Essentials to a Race Conversation, by Milagros Phillips 
  • 11 Reasons to Become Race Literate, by Milagros Phillips 
  • Speaking Race in Healthcare, by Milagros Phillips
  • My Grandmother’s Hands, by Resmaa Menaken
  • Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Family Secrets: The Path from Shame to Healing, by John Bradshaw
  • Black People are Indigenous to the America’s: Research Material for the Inquisitive, by Kimberly R. Norton
  • 10 Things to Know About White Privilege by Luke Pearson, Sophie Verass
  • How Racism Hurts White People Too, by Susana Rinderlee


Resources by Theresa Ruth Howard


More Resources

Reading List

  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
  • The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin
  • Halfbreed, by Maria Campbell
  • I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in A World Made for Whiteness, by Austin Channing Brown
  • Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
  • Are Prisons Obsolete?, by Angela Y. Davis
  • White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo
  • Canada in Africa, by Yves Engler
  • How To Be An Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde
  • Policing Black Lives, by Robyn Maynard
  • Legacy: Trauma, Story and Indigenous Healing, Suzanne Methot
  • So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Viola Desmond’s Canada, by Graham Reynolds
  • Me and White Supremacy, by Layla Saad
  • Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

Films and Shows

  • 13th (documentary)
  • Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975
  • The Book of Negroes (Mini-Series and Historical novel)
  • I Am Not Your Negro (documentary)
  • Just Mercy (Biography)
  • Selma (Historical Drama)
  • When They See Us (Mini-Series)

Resources to support conversations with children about racism

More Resources

Resources from the Addressing Racialization in Ballet Symposium

A Look at Doris Jones: Reference List
Reference list for Monica Stephenson’s research presentation – The Experiences, Teaching Style, Construction of Credibility of the Black Ballet Teacher: A Look at Doris Jones.
Beyond Moving
When a young Siphe November leaves his small township in South Africa to follow his dreams at Canada’s National Ballet School, he begins a remarkable journey that reveals deeply personal pulses of family, prejudice, expectation, loss, and resilience that beat beneath the surface of a beautiful and demanding art form. A film by Vikram Dasgupta, Beyond Moving “offers a compelling character study that speaks to access and opportunity” and captures “the joy and privilege of dancing.”
Black Perspectives on Creativity, Trustworthiness, Welcome and Well-Being
Findings in this qualitative study of Black Americans suggests that Black communities most value arts experiences that celebrate their creativity, support self-care, earn their trust and foster a sense of belonging.


CELAFI 25: Celebrating African Identity
CELAFI'25 Online, with its comprehensive national archive, is an accessible resource that ensures the cultural and artistic bodies of work of Canadian Black Artists, as they neared the 21st century and built a platform on which other artists can thrive, are permanently imprinted on the public record.
Cultivating Better Tomorrows
Cultivating Better Tomorrows is a Woman, Black, and LGBTQ owned business with a passion for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the performing arts community. With over 20 years of experience, our team has combined their wealth of knowledge to produce authentic and innovative programming for students, educators, administrators, and professionals. Our creative learning model provides a welcoming place for self-reflection and knowledge building, and has been impactful for a variety of organizations.
Dancing in the Dash: My Story of Empowerment, Diplomacy, and Resilience
Dancing in the Dash tells the inspiring and compelling story of a woman whose trailblazing experiences have taken her around the world. Lauri Fitz-Pegado has had a remarkable life performing in the arts, embracing activism and advocacy, and working in the world of policy, politics, and diplomacy. She shares how the rigors and discipline of dance training provided ballast and grace in dealing with the challenges she faced, both professionally and personally. 
Dance Theatre of Harlem: A History, A Movement, A Celebration
by Judy Tyrus and Paul Novosel
From its modest beginnings in the 1960s in a Harlem church basement, to its meteoric rise to international fame, the Dance Theatre of Harlem ignited the world with one simple, still-revolutionary statement: All can do ballet. Into the 21st century, as the world, and the country, continue their historical struggles and triumphs, the story of this haven for dancers of all colors and backgrounds resonates more than ever. Here, for the first time, is the definitive portrait of the one-of-a-kind community dance company that reflected—and shaped—our times, and whose enduring principle continues to inspire the future.
Equity in the Center
Equity in the Center® (EiC) works to shift mindsets, practices and systems in the social sector to center race equity and build a Race Equity Culture™.
Five Pioneering Black Ballerinas: ‘We Have to Have a Voice’
Life as a pioneer, life in a pandemic: They have been friends for over half a century, and have held each other up through far harder times than this last disorienting year. When people reached for all manners of comfort, something to give purpose or a shape to the days, these five women turned to their shared past. New York Times article published on June 17, 2021.
International Association of Blacks in Dance
The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) preserves and promotes dance by people of African ancestry or origin, and assists and increases opportunities for artists in advocacy, audience development, education, funding, networking, performance, philosophical dialogue, and touring.
It’s About Time: Dancing Black in Canada 1900-1970
It’s About Time is a ground-breaking new exhibition that highlights the recorded dance histories of Canada’s Black population from 1900-1970. Curated by scholar, artist, and educator Dr. Seika Boye, this exhibition offers insight into representations of Blackness and media reception of Black people dancing — from the dance floor to dance lessons, from the stage to public protests and activism.
Launched in 2015, MoBBallet (MoBB) preserves, presents, and promotes the contributions and stories of Black artists in the field of Ballet, illustrating that they are an integral part of dance history at large. 
The Relevance of Black Ballet Schools in 21st Century America
Author: Brandye Lee
Ballet’s problem with race and inclusion has been well-documented over the last 15 years. One of the natural outgrowths of Black dancers being systematically excluded from the art form – largely because of America’s sordid racist history and Jim Crow segregation laws and ballet’s racial bias towards whiteness – was the early formation of Black ballet schools in the 1920s and 1930s. Separate but equal, by law, has long ended, but the existence of Black ballet schools and their continued draw for parents and students alike cannot be denied. This paper examines the most prominent U.S. Black ballet schools, and the purpose they serve in the larger American ballet ecosystem. 
Révolutionnaire began with a mission to democratize dance and revolutionize "nude" apparel and has since evolved into a larger movement to celebrate diversity and empower dreamers to be revolutionary.