I hope you are enjoying this weekend with family and friends.
I always try to bring something positive on Saturday.
A Dallas Mom Who Knew Nothing About Dance Started the Brown Girls Do Ballet Movement
Daria Harper | November 1, 2017 | 4:00am
A few years ago, photographer Takiyah Wallace was searching for a dance studio in Dallas for her 3-year-old daughter, who had expressed an interest in ballet, when she noticed something.
“One of the first things that jumped out to me in visiting local studios here was that there were not any faces that looked like her,” she says.
After selecting a studio far from home, Wallace began a personal photography project to find and document ballerinas of color. In 2014, that project blossomed into the nonprofit organization Brown Girls Do Ballet, which has taken the dance world by storm and received coverage in Huffington Post, on BET and in Allure magazine.
As a newcomer to the world of ballet and dance in general, Wallace was shocked by how many parents related to her struggle.
“It was a personal want and desire for me to look for dancers of color because of what I was seeing in looking for classes for my daughter,” Wallace says. “I didn’t realize that it was something other people were looking for as well.”
After posting a Facebook casting call for dancers in Dallas, Houston and Austin, Wallace received an overwhelming number of responses from people nationwide.
“I didn’t understand what the word viral meant,” she says. “But I learned very quickly that viral meant you don’t sleep.”
Last month, Brown Girls Do Ballet released a mini-documentary, We Assemblé, which “hopes to inspire viewers while shedding light on triggering topics such as body image issues, discrimination and searching for confidence through dancing.”
Professional and emerging dancers of color appear in the film, including Layla Brent, Sierra Noelle Jones, Olivia Bell and Brooke Terry. The hope is that the film will reach a broader audience and help the organization meet its goal of funding a college scholarship for the first time.
Brown Girls Do Ballet also recently began a podcast, and the organization’s umbrella expanded to include Brown Girls Do Gymnastics. Wallace says she has plans to grow the mentorship program beyond ballet and gymnastics by the end of 2018.