The ballerina bringing the heart of dance to moments of darkness

A classically-trained ballerina from Baltimore has launched a Kickstarter campaign to send a black ballerina to five countries of the African diaspora to provide dance therapy services to survivors of sexual and domestic assault.

30-year old Tyde-Courtney Edwards has set herself the goal of raising USD20,000 (€19,032)  by 28 March which will fund the international workshops and a documentary on the process.

Edwards, who is a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts and the founding director of Ballet After Dark, experienced a violent sexual assault in 2012 – almost putting an end to her career. Now she is the inspiring leader of a dance organisation uniting women with similar experiences.

‘Sexual assault is a horribly shaming act of violence. Most survivors are left with embarrassment and guilt and often believe the act was brought upon them by something they’ve done,’ she told IAM. ‘Often, women are left feeling helpless as they navigate through their pain and trauma. We often feel less than human and we’re left with an unfamiliarity when it comes to our bodies. At Ballet After Dark, we strive to help women reconnect with their womanhood and sensuality by using ballet to help heal and reconnect with our femininity.’

Edwards currently runs classes from studios in Maryland where women from all backgrounds use dance and exercise to gain confidence and share their own stories of survival. She wants to begin the project in October 2017 and has her sights set on partnering with Woman’s Inc (Jamaica); Women of Purpose (Barbados); Haven House (Belize); Bahamas Crisis Center (Bahamas) and Agatha Amani House (Kenya)

‘We want to build longstanding relationships with women who successfully complete workshops and eventually provide them with training necessary to facilitate their own workshops following the Ballet After Dark syllabus,’ added Edwards. ‘We plan to extend our programme to Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico to include as many survivors as possible.’

‘The programme is geared towards women reprocessing, rebuilding and reclaiming their lives at any level of trauma. We want our women to comfortably regain their womanhood following assault. Women should be able to gradually talk openly about reclaiming their sensuality and sexuality.’

Support the Ballet After Dark Kickstarter campaign here. | #ReprocessRebuildReclaimYourself