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N’gegha Che is our new hero! The 8-year-old ballerina from Southeast Washington, DC is living her dream.

When she was 5 years old, she saw a performance of The Nutcracker for the first time and immediately asked her mother, Khadijaah Thomasfor ballet lessons.

Unfortunately, Khadijaah wasn’t able to afford the lessons, so N’gegha had to wait 3 years until she could attend Dance DC.

Nearly twenty ago, Dance DC was founded to help diversify the art of ballet, which many people still correlate to only being accessible for affluent Caucasian youth.

The program is currently available in eight low-income elementary schools throughout DC.

“The goal was to bring ballet to all parts of the city and help make ballet accessible and be a reflection of who our city is,” said Katrina Toews, Director Of The Washington Ballet Theatre.

Through Dance DC, N’gegha tried out and secured a coveted role in The Washington Ballet Theatre’s upcoming production of The Nutcracker. She will dance in 13 shows in the role of a snow angel. Based on her stellar performance in Dance DC, she was awarded a scholarship to continue training with The Washington Ballet Theatre.

N’gegha has successfully been able to manage her time between her school studies and ballet lessons four days a week, two of which are devoted to Nutcracker prep. The little girl wants to be a professional ballerina just like Misty Copeland.

Similar to Misty, Khadijaah understands the importance of her daughter’s presence in class and in the production.

“She will be a great role model for this area because a lot of bad things come out of [this area] but this is one good story we have right here in Southeast DC,” said Khadijaah.

Click here to watch N’gegha Che in action!


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