DALLAS, TX (KDAF)- Non profit organization, Brown Girls Do Ballet, is taking the ballet world by storm, promoting diversity and inclusion where all shades of brown girls feel welcomed.
TaKiyah Wallace, founder of Brown Girls Do Ballet, wanted to create a space where representation was highly present. Wallace’s start to her journey rooted from her search to find dance classes for her own daughter.
“One of the very first things that jumped out to me at that time were that there were very few images of little girls that looked like my daughter on many of the dance websites from the Dallas area. So as a photographer I was moonlighting, I set out to go find these dancers of color. I put a casting call up on Facebook looking for dancers in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Overnight literally it went viral.” she says.
TaKiyah explains that the following days she began to get calls and emails from people in areas of D.C., New York, and L.A. Initially she hadn’t planned on shooting in these places. However, after shooting in Dallas and speaking to many of the dancer’s parents, she knew that it was important for her to expand her talent to other places.
Today, Brown Girls Do Ballet has grown into a full fledge non profit organization that provides resources to dancers of colors as well as exposure experiences.
Funding creative arts and gaining the resources needed to excel is definitely not cheap. Takiyah and her organization offer fundraisers and grants to help fund these dancers and their experiences.
“Before we received our 501c3 status, I would go out and shoot the girls and my friends would pull together donations form those images and parents would donate in exchange for an 8×10 or 5×7. We would pull our resources together and identify girls that could benefit from those pulls and we started giving scholarships out that way. Now we have a full fledge scholarship program and we have amazing donors who make sure that we are able to provide our scholarship pulls that we normally supply.” Wallace explains.
Due to COVID-19, professional dancers are not able to dance right now, so Brown Girls Do Better has created a micro-grant program for them. A mentorship program for young dancers to be paired with professionals is also a new program that has worked well for the organization.
To learn more about Brown Girls Do Better, visit their Instagram page @browngirlsdoballet or their website at https://www.browngirlsdoballet.com/