By Emily Davenport
11 August 2020
Dancer and activist Ingrid Silva is taking on women’s issues and empowering women in the process through her New York City-based organization.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Silva started her dance journey at the age of 8 and began training in ballet at Dançando Para Não Dançar, a social project in Mangueira.
“Dance was never actually my dream but I was really excited when my mom mentioned to me about dance auditions,” said Silva. “I’ve always been involved with sports, been swimming since age 3, and joined a professional team. I had to decide between swimming and classical ballet – I ended up choosing ballet because it was really challenging and super fun.”
Silva went on to dance for three more schools in Brazil — Escola de Dança Maria Olenewa, Centro de Movimento Debora Colker and Grupo Corpo — before she sent an audition tape to the Dance Theatre of Harlem. She officially joined the company in January 2008, and currently resides in Riverside.
“It was a really interesting and amazing experience because when I first came to the states, I literally came for dancing,” said Silva. “My teacher came with me for the first month and then after that, I stayed with the school. That’s when my journey started in the states.”
During her time in the United States, Silva not only gained principal roles in a number of performances, but she also gained national recognition for leading the charge for skin-toned ballet shoes for dancers of all races and cultures. Silva has also been seen as a spokesperson for Activia and appearing in a Nike video series called The Common Thread.
Three years ago, Silva founded EmpowHER NY, an organization that centers around educating and giving women a safe space to speak freely about their ideas and experiences. The organization has made global connections with brands and organizations that want to empower women. Silva says that the organization has had events in New York prior to the pandemic, and has also helped women launch their brands and help them find jobs.
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