N’gegha Che is our new hero! The 8-year-old ballerina from Southeast Washington, DC is living her dream.

When N’gegha was 5 years old, she saw a performance of The Nutcracker for the first time and immediately asked her mother, Khadijaah Thomasfor ballet lessons.

Unfortunately, Khadijaah wasn’t able to afford the lessons, so N’gegha had to wait 3 years until she could attend Dance DC.

Dance DC was founded nearly 20 years ago to help diversify the art of ballet, which many people still associate only with affluent Caucasian youth.

The program is currently available in eight low-income elementary schools throughout DC.

“The goal was to bring ballet to all parts of the city and help make ballet accessible and be a reflection of who our city is,” said Katrina Toews, director Of The Washington Ballet Theater.

Through Dance DC, N’gegha secured a coveted role in The Washington Ballet Theater’s upcoming production of The Nutcracker. She will dance in 13 shows in the role of a snow angel. Based on her stellar performance in Dance DC, she was awarded a scholarship to continue training with The Washington Ballet.

N’gegha has successfully been able to manage her time between her school studies and ballet lessons four days a week, two of which are devoted to Nutcracker prep. The little girl wants to be a professional ballerina just like Misty Copeland.

“She will be a great role model for this area because a lot of bad things come out of [this area] but this is one good story we have right here in Southeast DC,” said Khadijaah.

Click here to watch N’gegha Che in action!


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