EMMY winner Klair Ethridge is the executive director of Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center (T.U.P.A.C.), which teaches high-quality classical ballet and related dance disciplines to BIPOC and marginalized children in the Greater Tacoma Area. Ethridge is also the writer/director of Harriet, a dance film based on the life of Harriet Tubman. Learn about Klair Ethridge…
Hometown: New York, New York, so nice they named it twice!
First job: An extra in the feature film, Sweet Charity, with the great, Shirley MaClaine directed by Bob Fosse in the MOMA Garden with my hair in a high ballet bun.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: Taking my big lab to swim in the Narrows.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Keeping our little school open against all odds. Being a witness as our students work on honing their ballet technique as well as becoming more self-assured in their daily life. Students gift teachers with immortality.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Opening our ballet school, Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center after our founder, Kabby Mitchell III, died two months before our planned first day of classes. Kabby was the artistic director, establishing a ballet school for BIPOC and marginalized children was his dream for years. He asked me to help him; I’m still here.
Someone who inspires you and why: My friend, Shirley. She is smart, kind, soft spoken and gets things done with grace.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Stay open-minded and always be ready to roll with the punches.
Favorite quote: “I thank God that I wasn’t born perfect.” –Bob Fosse
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I am the recipient of a Primetime EMMY Award as a member of the production sound team for the TV show “LOST” in 2008.
What makes someone fabulous: Always being curious and having a sense of humor and adventure.