The ballerinas, who dance together at iRule Dance Studio in Beaumont, Texas, wore matching lacy black leotards and matching leg warmers for the shoot, striking poses and sharing secrets while Bee Photography snapped away.
Images from the shoot have since gone viral, garnering thousands of likes and supportive comments.
Strike a pose! Dancers from the iRule Dance Studio in Beaumont, Texas posed for a photoshoot
‘These girls work so hard, and although they don’t complain about it, sometimes we like to do something fun,’ Angela told GMA.
‘It just so happened to be February and what better month to do [the photoshoot] in honor of Black History Month.’
She added that her daughter admires Misty Copeland, who was the first African American principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre and has become a superstar of the ballet world.
‘We just don’t see a lot of people that look like her … people of color, brown people that take ballet,’ she said.
‘Misty Copeland came along and paved the way. There weren’t very many people for little girls of color to look up to.’
These girls are part of the next generation of black ballerinas, and their photos have caught the attention of thousands of social media users.
‘When I saw [the pictures], I obviously choked up. To see [the photos], I was so proud,’ iRule’s founder and owner CharLee Hanna-Rule, said.
Others had kind words, too.
‘Black girl magic. Black excellence in the making,’ wrote one commenter.
‘They are such cuties! I love how confident they all are! Powerful picture!’ wrote another.
‘I ADORE this! Slay young Queens,’ said a third, while a fourth added: ‘LOVE their individual personalities showing here.’
Malonson said that the girls aren’t really aware of their internet fame.
‘All they want to do is have fun and they still don’t understand how big of a deal this is,’ she told GMA.
‘Maybe once they’re older and can reflect back on the moment, they will see all of the positivity… it’s a wonderful feeling.’
Late last year, 11-year-old Charlotte Nebres became the first black dancer to play Marie in the New York City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.
Charlotte was just six years old when Misty became the first female African-American principal at ABT, but seeing her on stage had a lasting impact.
‘I saw her perform and she was just so inspiring and so beautiful,’ she told the New York Times. ‘When I saw someone who looked like me on stage, I thought, that’s amazing. She was representing me and all the people like me.’
And then there’s Brown Girls Do Ballet, an organization with a mission to promote diversity in ballet.
Several years ago, Brown Girls Do Ballet launched a popular Instagram page packed with stunning images and impressive dance videos, all of which feature beautiful women of color showing of their stunning dance skills.
‘We wanted to be that voice that empowers young girls even in the face of adversity. We chose to start with showing them examples,’ co-founder Brittani Marie, a former ballerina, told BuzzFeed.
TaKiyah Wallace first had the idea for Brown Girls Do Ballet in 2013. Her then-three-year-old daughter took ballet, but there wasn’t much diversity in her class.
Takiyah was concerned about how her daughter would feel when she realized there weren’t other girls that looked like her in ballet, so the Texas resident came up with an idea to change that.
At first, she just wanted to find and photograph 12 ‘brown girls’ for a project — but when she posted about the plan on Facebook, the response was overwhelming. So she decided to take it further.
Together with Brittani, she launched a website and Instagram page, which aim to highlight girls of Hispanic, African, Asian, East Indian, and Native American ancestry in ballet.
On the social media page, women of various races can be seen in graceful ballet poses, bending their bodies and flaunting their skills.
Little girls in tutus — including TaKiyah’s own daughter, Charlie — make appearances too, looking adorable in their tights and buns.