Leona: Afro-Brazilian Ballerina Ingrid Silva


Above Photo Credit: Joey Rosado Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, Ingrid Silva has been dancing since the age of eight. With her family’s encouragement, Ingrid attended ballet classes every day after school while growing up. She went on to accomplish so much as a dancer that she created a path for herself that led to the United States. At age 19, Ingrid obtained a full scholarship to attend the Dance Theatre of Harlem for the summer. She later joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company in 2013.

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Photo Credit: Omar Z. Robles


Ingrid has gone on to dance in many principle roles and serve as a guest artist in various projects. With over 17 years of dance experience and much success, Ingrid still manages to remain humble and remember where she came from: “I come from a favela in Brazil, am black, have a poor family and yet, despite all those odds, I became a ballerina."

Get to know more about Ingrid in the interview below.

Where did the desire to dance/be a ballerina come from?

It was never a dream for me. I wanted to be a doctor at first and then when I was eight years old dance came into my life. I decided I wanted to have a dance career at the age of 13 and I haven't looked back since.


What was your first crazy NYC experience that made you realize that this wasn't an easy city?

Well I come from a big city, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. So New York wasn't really that crazy for me. There’s a lot happening here 24/7, but nothing that I haven't seen before.

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Photo Credit: Underground NYC

What ballerinas do you look up to?

Ana Botafogo. She’s a famous ballerina. She's an amazingly sick artist.


Were there any ballerinas of color that inspired you as a kid?

I didn't know any ballerinas of color. Especially in Brasil, so I didn't really have anyone to look up to.



Photo Credit: Omar Z. Robles

What changes would you like to see in the ballet world?

Racial changes. I want to see everyone from any ethnicity have the opportunity to be an artist and be able to inspire.


What are your hopes and aspirations for your dance career?

I want to take it day by day. I have a lot to do, but I actually want to go to college. We’ll see what the future holds for me.

Ingrid has overcome many obstacles while on the road to achieving her dream. “I come from a favela in Brazil, am black, have a poor family and yet, despite all those odds, I became a ballerina." Her tenacity to keep going through it all, truly makes her a Leona.

To keep up with Ingrid Silva follow her on social media:

Tumblr: http://ingridsilvarj.tumblr.com/

YouTube: IngridSilva

Twitter: Ingrid_silvarj