History is, once again, being made in Michigan as the first Black-Woman-owned figure skating club opens in Detroit.
Figure skating dates back hundreds of years in America. Apparently, the first American, named Jackson Haines, performed a "free and expressive routine" on ice skates in the 1860s. At least, according to britannica.com. However, the governing body for figure skating in the United States, aptly named US Figure Skating, was founded nearly 100 years later in 1921.
Presently, especially during the Winter Olympics, you're most likely seeing all kinds of figure skating routines pop up on your social media pages. But, you may notice a lack of Black athletes representing the United States.
That's why this figure skating club in Detroit is so important.
Dream Detroit Skating Academy is the first Black-Woman-owned figure skating academy in Michigan and recently opened its doors for all future competitors to have a place where they can feel included.
Directors Angela Blocker-Loyd and Candice Tamakloe were, themselves, competitors earlier in their lives but were only two of a few African American skaters in the Detroit area. There was a lack of representation and opportunity which is what they're now hoping to change. And,
By introducing this non-traditional sport, Dream Detroit hopes to instill, in its students, a sense of self-worth, community, curiosity, and most importantly, the confidence to explore opportunities beyond the scope of their familiar environment.
Read more on their website.
Here, you can see a quick introduction to the newly opened academy:
If you're in the Detroit area and are interested in enrolling your child, there are a couple of things you should know:
- Dream Detroit's skating season runs from February through early May
- 4 skating sessions are offered weekly on Fridays and Saturdays
- Students aged 4 and over are welcome
You can find information on tuition costs and more here.
For those questioning why this is a big deal...imagine having a passion for something and hardly ever seeing someone who looks like you succeeding in that passion. It would feel pretty defeating, right? This academy opens the doors wide for those who have previously felt underrepresented. And that sentiment is certainly being shared on social media.
In the public Facebook group, Black Beauty, the story of Dream Detroit Skating Academy's opening received comments like:
Awesome is just not enough to express how this makes me feel knowing this has been established!!! Congratulations!! - Katy S.
I figure skated professionally from 3-12yo, being the only curly-headed skater in A2 I wish I had this environment at that time, I probably would’ve stayed with it! I love this so much. - Alysha G.
There's no sport we can't do - Russell R.
We can do it all we are equipped - Mae M.
If you're outside of the Detroit area and simply want to follow along on the Dream Detroit Skating Academy's journey, you may do so by following them on Instagram.
February is Black History Month. If you're trying to figure out how you can show your support one easy way is by shopping at Black-owned businesses. There are several in the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek areas. Read more below:
And, did you know that these actors made history in the entertainment industry? Keep reading to learn more: