A 14-year-old teenager from Sydney is aspiring to become the first hijabi ballerina and hopes the world will help make her dreams come true.
Stephanie Kurlow started learning ballet as a toddler, but when her family converted to Islam in 2010, the dance lessons had to stop. She had a hard time finding a school that would let her dance and practice her religion at the same time. She realized that she might not be able to pursue her dream career as a professional dancer.
Dancing is not allowed in some Muslim cultures, and the teen also grew conscious of having to dance in her tutu and her hijab, the head scarf Muslim women are required to wear. "We thought there were no facilitations or services targeted at Muslim girls," she said via the New York Daily News. So Kurlow decided she will set up her own ballet school with the help of her mother.
"When there was nowhere for me to study ballet due to my outfit, [my mom] opened a performing arts academy that taught ballet, martial arts and aboriginal arts classes for girls like me, where no one questions children why they dress or look a certain way," Kurlow said.
The Australian Nasheed & Arts Academy welcomed its first students in 2012.
Now the young girl is hoping to get on with her professional training so that she can begin to teach other girls full time. "I plan on bringing the world together by becoming the very first Muslim ballerina so that I can inspire so many other people to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams," Kurlow wrote on her fundraiser page at LaunchGood. "My dream is to train in a full-time ballet school catered for aspiring young girls who want to train 30-45 hours a week so they can become a professional ballerina."
The young ballerina is taking cues from Misty Copeland of American Ballet Theater who became the first woman of color to land a principal dancer spot.
"I believe that one day all children and young people will have an opportunity to perform and create, without sacrificing their values, beliefs or looks, and my campaign is one step closer to achieving this," she said via Yahoo!
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