Roanoke, Virginia – Many children grow up wanting to learn how to dance, but the cost is often a barrier.
Now, a Roanoke woman has started a nonprofit to bridge the gap, making sure every child has an opportunity to learn.
Mishel’la White is a life-long dancer and the director and owner of Mish Moves Dance Company in Roanoke.
For White, music is more than what you hear, it’s what you feel.
While she prides herself on skill, she said dance step aren’t the only thing she wants her dancers to walk away with.
“With confidence, with attitude, with new skills that they’ve never learned before. I want them to be able to go to college,” said White.
She also wants them to have an outlet and an ability to grow, and maybe even turn dance into a career like she did.
“I started at a young age. I want them to be able to look up to me and I want them to say I want to be like Mishel’la when I grow up,” said White.
11-year-old dancer Sanaia is one of her students.
“She’s a really good teacher and I love her,” Sanaia said. “It’s taught me a lot. It’s taught me respect. It’s taught me friendships. It’s taught me connections.”
A college graduate, White knows first-hand how expensive lessons can be, which is why she started the nonprofit.
“Now a days it’s $100 or $200 per class. That’s just for one class! Versus my class –I try to make it affordable for anybody to be able to come and learn dance.”
She only charges $45 a month and students keep coming in.
“It’s been tremendous. More than I even expected,” White said.
For White, dance is a life’s long passion she hopes to inspire in the next generation.
“Sometimes I get emotional. I really can’t believe that I’ve started something and I’ll be able to help other people,” White said.
In order to keep classes affordable, fundraising is important to the nonprofit.
Currently they are raising money to help pay for travel expenses, new dance equipment and a bigger dance studio.
On Oct. 3, Mish Moves Dance is holding a pop-up shop event at Washington Park in Roanoke and will have food, dance and vendors.