In 2015, Misty Copeland was named the first African American principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre. Other dance companies such as the Dance Theatre of Harlem seek to close the diversity gap in dance by presenting a ballet company that is more racially diverse. For young girls in the Washington, DC area, Lela Wilhite places representation at the forefront of her dance studio.
Lela is the owner of Lela Belle’s Studio of dance in Waldorf, MD. “Lack of representation impacts our young girls by not giving them the opportunity to see women developing, growing, expanding in the creative field,” explains Lela. Over the past six years Lela has taught over 1500 African American girls the basics of dance to include Ballet. Lela’s studio gives young Blacks girls a safe space to practice and perfect their craft.