EnPointe Indiana Ballet issued an apology on its Facebook page following a performance of “The Nicest Kids in Town” during Noblesville MainStreet’s Duck Race celebration July 25.
The song is from the musical “Hairspray,” and some of the lyrics read: “You better come on down and meet the nicest kids in town, nice white kids who like to lead the way, and once a month we have our ‘negro day.’”
“On Saturday, we performed in Noblesville and made a huge error in judgment by using the song ‘The Nicest Kids in Town’ from the musical Hairspray,” the statement read. “While the overall message of this entire musical is one supporting acceptance of all people, we fully acknowledge the decision we made to use this song out of context was insensitive, inappropriate and unacceptable.”
The performance happened in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement in which protests where held nationwide following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
“We are sincere when we say our thought process was severely lacking, and we take full responsibility for the hurt this has caused,” the statement read. “It is important for us to say, we have the utmost respect for the Black community. We welcome diversity in our ballet studio, and we hope the community will offer their grace as we work hard to move forward. We intend to make significant change in a positive way.”
The statement said the studio has reached out to the Noblesville Diversity Coalition in an effort to open dialogue on how the studio can be on the forefront of change.
The statement also claimed the studio will establish a lyrics committee to research, analyze and help with song choice; will notify parents of dancers in advance of the song selection; offer preview events prior to a live performance; invite guest speakers to speak with dancers and staff about diversity; invite minority guest artists to teach cultural and ethnic dance; continue to offer scholarships to help dancers access dance attire; and collaborate with industry leaders to create an artistic piece that helps break down racial barriers.
The statement said the studio has not deleted any comments on its posts and will not do so, although the page utilizes Facebook profanity filters and automatically hides comments with profanity.
As of press time, the studio’s statement has nearly 600 comments.
Ballet group apologizes for racist lyrics in July 25 dance