By Sakshi Kale

A fourteen year old girl says “I can bring people together through dance”.

Young ballerina, Stephanie Kurlow was born to a Australian father and a Russian mother. The first time she touched her own tutu was at the mere age of 2. Being born with a natural gift of dance, she soon fell in love with ballet. At first when her parents converted to Islam, she stopped dancing because she was scared that her beliefs and religious traits would clash with her artistic passion. She put on her first hijab at the age of 9. Her ballet class immediately dismissed her. Wearing a hijab during dancing was forbidden in the class. No other class would enrol her, but this young determined girl did not lose courage and went on to thinking of alternatives. To help her, her mother opened a Australian Nasheed and Arts Academy. That is when she got inspired and launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for private ballet lessons. She aimed to raise $10.000 to train full time in ballet but managed to raise only $7000. Even though she didn’t reach her goal, it is big number to have been raised. 700 people outside her personal life donated to the fund. Her parents, friends, teachers, and everyone else showed an endless amount of support.

 

She has her fears far behind her, and now at the age of 14, she is on her way to becoming the world’s first muslim hijabi ballerina. Being offered scholarships from all over, she is now world famous and aspires to open an arts school which helps young girls follow their passions. Her main goal for the arts school is to cater to dancers with different religious, traditional and cultural backgrounds. It will be specifically geared towards diverse youths, helping young children reach their dreams without needing to give up on something else.

 

If you are inspired by this story, go ahead and write a note to her at this website below http://stephaniekurlow.wixsite.com/stephaniekurlow/contact

Sakshi Kale is in the 8th grade. One of her prominent hobbies is dancing. She has been dancing her whole life and has been focusing only on Odissi for the past 8 years. She has a great aptitude for music and drama as well. She also enjoys writing essays. She can’t sing but plays the piano beautifully. Along with all of this, she is learning kickboxing. She has fun when everyone is together and united. She is a big feminist and feels strongly for gender equality. She also stands actively for the LGBTQ+ community.

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