Local dance company aims to help young dancers in underserved neighborhoods

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A local dance company is on a mission to change the perception of what it means to be a 'traditional' ballet dancer.

Misty Copeland may have been the first, but a local dance organization is determined she won't be the last.

Chocolate Ballerina Company aims to tap into the talent of young dancers in under-served neighborhoods.

The goal is to develop them as ballerinas and as kids deserving of an equal opportunity to find expression through dance.

Founder Chanel Holland says many urban areas are stripped of the opportunity to receive professional training and exposure to different dance forms.

Holland adds that she has had so many young girls tell her to be a ballerina you must be white, thin, and privileged.

"They've already eliminated themselves before they can be placed in that experience to say what they can or can not do. And they can do it," said Holland.

Students like 8-year-old Ari Scott from West Philadelphia says that the company has not only helped her discover her talent but her confidence.

"I try to keep people from doubting themselves and I try to help them to dance," she said.

Holland says the core mission of the company is to teach intensive discipline, hard work, and confidence to their students.
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