Atlanta recently marked the first stop of “Share the Movement’s” 3-city dance clinic series. The event took place at the Westside Cultural Arts Center. From hip-hop to salsa, attendees got the opportunity to participate in dance classes led by some of the top professionals in the industry.
“Share The Movement” is a non-profit organization committed to creating more diversity in the professional dance community by providing financial, educational, and inspirational support to promising young BIPOC dancers. That’s why BAND-AID Brand OUR TONE is partnering with “Dancing with the Stars” pro, Britt Stewart, and her non-profit to host a series of dance clinics and provide dance resources to help uplift these communities.
They were also joined by their local partner The Black Artists Dance Collective, a community arts organization with a mission to connect the Atlanta Black dance community to network resources and opportunities both nationally and internationally. Other event highlights included a panel with dance industry veterans, standout performances, and the chance to create TikTok videos.
ADW spoke with “Share The Movement” President Britt Stewart to gain more insight into their mission and how they ultimately plan on diversifying the dance industry.
“When we first started our organization we really saw the lack of representation in areas of dance that were unexpected like ballroom, which is my dance style, or ballet,” Stewart said. “You have Misty Copeland or myself as the first Black female pro on Dancing with the Stars. But we really wanted to see just a more colorful dance industry so instead of finding a solution to fix it right then we thought let’s start at the foundation. Let’s start with young dancers that have the desire and goal and dream to become a professional dancer.”
The Atlanta community did not disappoint. With capacity attendance, the facility was full of hungry and hopeful BIPOC dancers ready to give it their all.
“I know that a national organization that maybe doesn’t have roots in the city can be hard to get into the community but Atlanta has opened their arms wide open for us,” Stewart continues. “And to see the turnout today is just beautiful and we’re really seeing our mission being put into action. Personally, for me, it’s surreal and emotional walking through this room, a sea of young Black dancers and I used to be that.”
As a successful professional dancer, choreographer, and educator, Stewart’s accolades span from the stage to the screen, breaking boundaries in the process. She says her difficult journey as a Black woman navigating this industry involved not only finding herself as an artist and a woman but also not comparing herself to what Hollywood defines as beautiful or talented.
“I have a duty to not only represent Black women but to also make sure that I am not the only one,” she said. “That I can do whatever I can to do to make sure every single option in the dance industry and entertainment industry is accessible to everybody.”
Stewart also provided advice to Black artists of the next generation.
“I would tell young Black artists to be authentically yourself no matter what,” she said. “It’s okay to dream. It’s okay to dream big. It’s okay to dream in a limitless sort of mindset and to just not be afraid of being the only person in the room either. People who are already there are working and striving to make sure that doesn’t happen in the future. The more we step into spaces the more access that we can create for our community.”