When I was younger, I always wondered what it would be like to be a professional ballerina. And, I’m sure if you have watched Black Swan or Save the Last Dance, you have probably thought about the same thing. It’s not everyday that you hear about professional black ballerinas because very few of them reach the height of their career. Ingrid Silva has managed to break every glass ceiling and rose to the top of her ballet career!
When Ingrid Silva was 8 years old, living in a favela in Brazil, she began ballet training at a local dance studio. She loved ballet dancing so much that she moved to New York to pursue her career. Ingrid is a professional ballerina with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She is also the founder of Empower Her New York, a digital platform for women to share their career journeys.Ingrid shared some professional advice with L.F.E:
How did you discover your love for ballet?
I think dance came into my life without me knowing it, I was enrolled in a community dance project that had ballet. I was very energetic and my mom wanted me to join another activity. I did the audition when I was 8 years old and I got in!
What motivated you to pursue ballet as a professional career? What inspired you to move to New York at 18 to pursue your career?
Many things, one of them was the people around me who believed in who I was and what I could be! That is one of the most things Im grateful for.
I had a teacher who once came talk to me and said “you are very talented have you ever seen yourself becoming a professional?” I was like oh ok!
At that time, I had never seen anyone that looked like me, but then Bethania Gomes, who is friends with my ballet teacher, came to the studio and really said I should audition for DTH. Well, I did and here I am.
You have created a path for yourself in a very competitive industry. What are some of the challenges you have faced as black professional ballet dancer?
I mean, I am a professional ballerina in a diverse company. Right now, the only challenge I face is becoming a better me everyday. But before I joined the company, I felt like I had to prove myself in a place where I could never have seen myself. It was my first job as well.
EmpowerHer NY is an amazing organization! What was your inspiration behind it?
Women and our necessity of speaking!
Who is your Career Crush?
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
Opportunity: that’s the key to me! Because that’s the only way people can see where they can see themselves.
Also the world is diverse so we should have diversity in every career.
What advice do you have for young women who want to break into professional ballet dancing?
Believe in yourself, Thats the secret, the challenges will be there but you have to be strong!
What does being an executive woman mean to you?
Wow it means business, which is new for me! Im learning as I go!