Christopher Boatwright, generally considered to be the finest black ballet dancer in the world, has resigned his position as a star performer with West Germany's celebrated Stuttgart Ballet and will become a permanent member of Los Angeles Ballet.
The Brooklyn-born Boatwright left America in 1973 to pursue a career in Europe, he said, because he felt that racial discrimination in ballet in America would prevent him from ever becoming a leading dancer with any U.S. company.
Boatwright, in a telephone interview from Stuttgart, said he is ending his expatriot status after a decade of living and working in Germany because "I want to come home. I'm an American and I've been away too long."
Earlier this year, Boatwright had accepted an unsolicited offer to become a frequent performer with the Los Angeles Ballet while remaining with the Stuttgart company, but the dancer, who was a senior principal artist in the German ensemble, said he has now chosen to become a full-time resident of Los Angeles in July.
Stuttgart Ballet officials privately told ballet industry executives they are dismayed by Boatwright's action, but they sympathize with his public expressions of loneliness--and with his desire to practice his profession in his own country.