Delaware man returns to ballet company as its first African-American director

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Wednesday, December 13, 2023
Del. man returns to ballet company as first African-American director
Benjamin Sterling Cannon is putting representation on center stage as the first African-American leader of the Wilmington Ballet.

WILMINGTON, Delaware (WPVI) -- "This really is my home," said Benjamin Sterling Cannon. "The teachers who were here, they were all like my parents. And they gave me so much that I had to come back and really be able to give back."

Cannon started his dancing career with the Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance (Formerly Academy of the Dance). After many years working as a soloist, a Broadway performer, and a director of plays and musicals, he has returned to his roots.

He is now proud to act as the first African-American Executive and Artistic director of the Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance.

"It's important because we need to see representation," said Cannon. "When I was growing up, I was one of the only black males in the whole school."

Cannon emphasizes the diversity of Wilmington, Delaware, within his roster of dancers and the styles of dance they showcase. In particular, this weekend's showing of The Nutcracker is designed to be a melting pot of various cultures.

The Nutcracker will be presented at The Playhouse on Rodney Square on December 15, 16, and 17.

"The Nutcracker, and me being on that stage when I was a kid at seven or eight, was the thing that has led my life to where it is now," said Cannon.

To learn more about the Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance and how to get involved, visit their website.

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