Joelle Kimbrough dreams of becoming a professional ballerina someday.
“I can express the way I feel through body movement and that’s really neat. It’s also a stress reliever,” says Joelle, a sophomore at Bishop Miege.
The 15 year old has taken dance classes since she was 3. Three summers ago she attended Kansas City Ballet School’s Junior Summer Intensive program and the following year she was accepted into Kansas City Ballet School’s (KCBS) Summer Intensive.
After enjoying both programs, she decided to transfer from another local dance school to KCBS’s Academy for full-time ballet and dance instruction. Now she just finished her first full year of Academy instruction.
Recently, Joelle was selected to be a 2019 Ambassador for Brown Girls Do Ballet® (BGDB) —the first one for Kansas City.
BROWN GIRLS DO BALLET® AMBASSADOR
BGDB, based in Dallas, started as a way to help increase participation of underrepresented minority populations in ballet programs. Through organizing and arranging ballet performances, photo exhibitions, and providing resources and scholarships, BGDB assists young girls in their ballet development and training. Brown Ballerina Jr. Ambassadors (ages 10-12) and Brown Ballerina Youth Ambassadors (ages 13-17) programs bring Brown Ballerinas in Training and mentors of diverse backgrounds. Together they build community and become the local faces of Brown Girls Do Ballet.
The program creates opportunities for young dancers in training to become leaders—eventually mentoring other Brown Ballerinas in Training.
“I had heard about the organization and the ambassador program,” Joelle says. “I always wanted to be one and the opportunity presented itself. So, I took advantage.”
The process required an application and two recommendation letters. Joelle submitted her grade cards along with one letter from KCBS Director Grace Holmes and one from Fine Arts Pastor, Phil Stacey from City Center Church, Lenexa Kan. She received an interview. About three weeks later they told her she was selected. “There are 14 or 15 of us out of 300 applicants. But I’m the only one from KC. I will promote ballet to all races. I will bring diversity to ballet,” Joelle says. “They have other events similar to KC Dance Day. And there are ways to get sponsorships from certain companies or organizations. There are even scholarship opportunities.”
BGDB is based in Dallas and the ambassadors are from across the country and Mexico.
“After my year is up, I could reapply,” she says, “but either way I am always affiliated.”
The program involves mentors, too. Ballerinas from other companies and professional dancers want to help the next generation of brown girls.
“I’m excited about the attention this appointment brings to KC and KCBS,” Joelle says.
“I do want to be a professional ballet dancer with a major ballet company someday. If not that, I see myself doing something in the medical field. Anesthesiology has recently caught my attention,” she says.
Either way, Joelle Kimbrough’s star is on the rise and we wish her much success.