Chocolate Ballerina Company offering free lessons, leotards for teens this summer

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- From free lessons to free leotards, a local dance company is offering local youth in underserved areas a summer full of culture and opportunity.

Philadelphia's Chocolate Ballerina Company calls it the "IMPACT Program," bringing the power and joys of dance to local teens.

They're also giving the kids confidence and poise and life skills.

And yes, they're doing it for free.

"Not only are they developing physically, they're also developing mentally. All of those characteristics that go into the everyday life, like discipline and building character," says Chanel Holland, the founder and artistic director of Chocolate Ballerina Company.

It's open to performers between the ages of 12 and 16.

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Holland created Chocolate Ballerina Company to give kids in urban communities exposure and opportunity, and the need was even greater during this pandemic

"I believe that with the large amount of city-wide violence, that we are saving lives with this program," Holland says.

She's doing it by giving the kids a free, safe space to grow and feel supported.

In June, she's moving the summer program from a virtual format to the Mt. Airy Playground on Germantown Avenue.

Holland is planning for a free in-person performance this summer to showcase all of the talent.

She's also running the summer enrichment program until at least October.

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