There are a lot of dance videos on Instagram but one, in particular, had our hearts melting. The kids from Dancemakers studio nailed a perfect routine to Outkast featuring Sleepy Brown’s “I like The Way You Move” song. Their dance director Robin Pitts has been challenging the dance norm by providing opportunities for young brown girls and boys to excel in dance. The prestigious school also awards scholarships to deserving young dancers despite income.
Pitts dream was to ensure that every dancer who dreamed to dance had the opportunity to attend dance classes. Robin Pitts is a trained dancer who was influenced by Debbie Allen and Catherine Dunham. After years of school and being a professional dancer she saw things that made her realize that her passion for dance was bigger than just her. The opportunities afforded to Black dancers were too few and almost non-existent. Robin realized that she wanted to change the dance and ballet world through action and education. She wanted to make dance more inclusive so brown girls could have the opportunities to also be a part of the world’s most prestigious ballet and dance troops but she knew this would have to begin through her providing the educational training that many Brown girls are not as privileged to have. So Robin did just that. She opened the prestigious and popular “Dancemakers” dance studio and hired teachers across the country to rigorously train young dancers beginning at the age of three.
“Even with all of our connection to dance today when it comes to tours and being part of the prestigious dance and ballet companies, African-Americans are very underrepresented in dance and especially ballet and tap. To be accepted into ballet companies you really have to have more than raw talent you have to be classically trained and a lot of our kids in our community don’t always have those resources. Also when it comes to ballet, diversity, and acceptance is still an issue. I wanted to change this and that is why I created Dancemakers,” said Pitts.
The prestigious studio, which teaches everything from ballet & tap to lyrical & jazz to modern and even tumbling, continues to beat the odds as all youth regardless of income are given the opportunity to become classically trained in dance. Pitts’ emphasis of an academically enriched dance studio has paid off for her students. Their success has been measured through a constant increase in her dancers’ grades as well as high school seniors receiving full dance scholarships to various institutions across the country.