Total loan: $6,000


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Oakland, CA, United States / Arts

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A loan helped Employ skilled dance artists, teachers, and faculty. It will aid in the stability of this organization while we move into our new dance studio. Creating an opportunity for this business to flourish, and reach even more new young students.

Maia's story

My love of dance lifted my life. I am an only child of mixed race and born into a poor family. Growing up in a lot of turmoil I focused on ballet. I studied dance in a white environment as a person of color. I went to an arts high school and received scholarships to many BFA programs. I was lucky enough to attend North Carolina School of the Arts on scholarship, and the Ailey School. After a short career as a professional dancer, I turned to teaching and choreographing for children. The path of a professional dancer did not fit me. I was emotionally and mentally unprepared. I had embraced the discipline necessary for the success, and had transformed my body to look the part, my self-esteem was not high enough to continue. My primary teachers in high school had a lot to offer me dance wise, my training was incomplete and they did not build up my esteem. Once I started teaching I noticed how I could both make my students work hard and feel good about themselves. This experience I was missing from my youth, when I experienced it in young adulthood, it was too late, I truly didn’t believe I could succeed. I decided to create Sweat as an answer to what I had missed, dance being uplifting. I am a mother to two girls whom I am raising alone, I have been hit with multiple socio-economic challenges including overcoming domestic violence and abuse. Dance has always carried me through every challenge, while teaching dance I gained a B.A in Economics and later an MBA. I want to be an example to my students that life's struggles don’t lead to failure, while I build up their dancing and self-image for future success.