Aesha Ash brings ballet in Rochester
Ever Wonder Why Aesha Ash is Wandering Around Inner City Rochester in a Tutu?
Aesha Ash was just one of the neighborhood kids who grew up in the inner city of Rochester. She remembered people driving by, judging her by her black skin.
"They'd never know that I was dreaming of becoming a professional ballet dancer. No one would think that someday she's going to make it into New York City Ballet," says Ash.
She launched her project, Swan Dreams Project for the kids in her community
She's firm to use her dance background to break the stereotypes and misconceptions that people—including black people—have about women of color. She wanted to show it's okay to embrace our softer side and let the world know we're multidimensional.
She launched the Swan Dreams Project in 2018 to motivate kids in the community she grew up in. The original idea was to post images of herself in a tutu all over Rochester. She wanted to replace images of girls in bikinis riding in motorcycles with photos that show women of color in a different light.
She financed herself to work on her dreams
However, she soon realized she didn't have the budget to fund her original plan. But she's made the images accessible through an online store, and often gives away prints at her own expense to schools and students in need of some inspiration.
Any profit she makes from the sales go straight to other organizations that are working to develop ballet in diverse communities.
She understands the impact she made teaching ballet in kids
Ash, now a mother of two, will also start teaching a free after-school ballet class at her daughter's public school. "I recently taught at Girls Inc. in Oakland, and one of the little black girls said, 'Are you the ballet teacher?' The little girl just stood there, staring at me with her mouth open," Ash says. "You never know the impact you can have just by being a presence."
If you're interested in supporting the project, check out the online shop, or donate directly at swandreamsproject.org.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
- Harriet Tubman