An Australian teen hopes to become the world’s first hijabi ballerina.
Stephanie Kurlow began ballet when she was two years old. She quit a decade later, when she converted to Islam in 2010.
The 14-year-old figured she’d lost her chance of becoming a professional ballerina as she struggled to find schools that catered to both her religious beliefs and dance needs. She was also discouraged because some members of the Muslim community told her dancing is forbidden.
“In this day and age there is a lack of facilitation for youth who are disengaged or of a different religion or race,” she said.
But Kurlow hasn’t given up. She’s launched a crowdsourcing initiative to raise $10,000 AUD ($9,908 CAD) to train full-time at ballet school. She launched the initiative Jan. 27, and has raised over $1000 so far.
“I plan on bringing the world together by becoming the very first Muslim Ballerina so that I can inspire so many other people to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams,” she said.
Eventually she’d like to use her talents to open a performing arts school in Sydney that caters to dancers of different cultural backgrounds.
“I want to encourage everyone to join together no matter what faith, race or colour.”