No doubt turning the dream of owning a dance company into a fully operational business is a tough feat. From finding studio space, marketing, securing funding and more, it can all be very daunting. The challenge of taking a dance-related business to new heights can be even greater if you are a person of color. However, it's not impossible. According to the 2012 census, there are 27.6 million businesses in the United States, and only 2.6 million are black-owned. In honor of Black History Month, DT spoke with several black-owned dance studios and companies and asked them to reflect on the significance race has had on their efforts to run the dance company of their dreams.
Danielle Campbell Steans, Owner and Director San Antonio Ballet School
Photo by Alexander Devora, courtesy of Still Life
"As an African-American female in this industry, I have many struggles to overcome. There is the idea that we have to be better than everyone else in order to be taken seriously. We have to fight twice as hard to achieve the things that come so easily to others. I would say in general I have encountered a network of people who have been very supportive. The one area I find where there could be more opportunities for black women is with funding. I once reached out for help and asked what my organization would need in order to be considered for an arts grant, and was told that I could apply, but that it was very competitive. I was informed that there were more-established organizations who had previously been awarded. I hope to be able to change that and make it so funding can be accessible for black women."