Black History Visionaries

Choreography of Life: Juilliard Student Gives Back to Her Southside Community

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Juilliard Student Gives Back to Her South Side Community

DALLAS — What little girl doesn’t dream of being a ballerina?

“Okay everybody, so we’re going to do the pirouettes to the right and then we’ll do a little adagio,” Amber Pickens said as she stood in front of a group of girls focused intently on her direction.

The pirouetting princesses learned to point and prance all under the watchful eyes of the very agile Pickens. The graceful Juilliard senior is a dance major from Dallas’ southside. She made the leap from Big D to NYC. This summer, Pickens came back, to  give back,  to her childhood school.

“It feels really amazing to return back to St. Phillips,” Picken explained. “I always said when I went to college, I wanted to come back and share with the children what I have been learning at Juilliard and all the teachers in New York City.”

Pickens spent the past two weeks teaching her young students about the art of movement.

“The first two, three days – they were like I don’t know, what is this you’re teaching me?” Pickens said.

“But, they’ve been pushing themselves and just continue to take in the knowledge, and getting better and better. They have such positive attitudes- they’re so smart and so young.”

The girls debuted their balletic talents at a special performance on Friday afternoon.

“These past two weeks have been amazing,” Pickens recalled with fondness.

“I don’t want to leave them; this week has been so emotional for me because I don’t want to leave, they have been great.”

That’s one act worthy of a standing ovation.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.