6 November 2020 14:43

New Christmas ad moves the ballet world and beyond

Retail giant Amazon has released their 2020 Christmas ad which tells the story of a young black ballet dancer who is awarded the lead role in her school production, only to face the heartbreak of cancellation due the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The TV advert, created by Lucky Generals for Amazon, features French ballet dancer, Taïs Vinolo, in the starring role and has struck a poignant chord with the ballet world and far beyond.

The ad not only speaks to the crushing weight of the pandemic on the global arts world but also to the disappointment and loss of opportunities for young artists.

But the film also has a second important message. In a year where the Black Lives Matter Movement has seen an increasing global awareness of the lack of opportunities and access for black people, this film positively contributes by profiling the success of a black dancer amongst her peers who appear to be of varying backgrounds. It also subtly references a black male dance teacher and shows Taïs Vinolo dancing with her natural afro hair unrestrained from a conventional ballet bun.  With its global platform and reach, Amazon is helping to normalise the image of black ballet dancers, and such references to diversity and inclusivity in the artform should be celebrated and shared.

Taïs Vinolo said: “When I was growing up in the French countryside, there were no young black girls studying ballet with hair like mine, or even on TV, meaning I had no one to identify myself with. Being on this shoot helped so much with this, enabling me to own who I really am, who I want to be and what I represent. I am so proud to have been part of this project since the message of it means a lot to me and even more so in this very difficult time that the world is going through.”*

* Quote taken from an interview with the Daily Mail.

Image copyright Amazon.