This summer, clad in a stunning gold-fringe costume, “Dancing with the Stars” pro Britt Stewart and her fellow “Dancing with the Stars” pro Brandon Armstrong, dazzled a room full of young Black and brown dancers in New York City. The enrapturing performance was part of a free dance clinic Stewart and her nonprofit organization, Share The Movement, had put on in tandem with BAND-AID brand OURTONE. It was one of three events that happened this summer (the others were hosted in Atlanta and Los Angeles) in which she teamed up with local dance organizations to provide dance opportunities for BIPOC children in the respective areas. The events had roughly 300 dancers ages 8 to 18, and offered dance classes, a Q&A with prominent dance figures in the area, a TikTok dance class, a performance, a dance battle, and scholarships. “The impact we have seen from it has been really beautiful,” Stewart says. “People have been asking for more events, and it’s just confirmation that what we’re doing is impactful and making a difference.”
Share The Movement was established in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when Stewart and a group of like-minded performers, producers, and choreographers (Daniel Gaymon, Kate Harpootlian, Nikole Vallins, Pam Chu, Brad Bauner, Chantelle Good, and Ashley Lindsay) gathered over Zoom to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in both the dance industry and the entertainment industry as a whole. “We really dug deep into what we could do for our dance community that would have a lasting impact,” Stewart says. “Something that starts at the foundation of where those barriers for BIPOC communities need to be broken.” At the same time, Stewart became the first Black female pro on “Dancing with the Stars,” becoming what she describes as “a direct representation of what our mission is.”
The first charge of the organization was to create a summer scholarship program in which BIPOC dancers who need financial support would have the opportunity to apply for scholarships to their preferred summer dance program. Three years later, this program has grown, and Share The Movement has also teamed up with summer programs like those at Joffrey, North Carolina University, and Broadway Dance Center. They provide roughly 25 scholarships to dancers each year. Beyond scholarships, Share The Movement also offers a mentorship program in which dancers are paired with professional artists to work one on one with students and families to guide them through their dance lives. Most recently, they have added pop-up events, like the three free dance clinics they did this summer. “In the grand scheme of things, we’re a baby organization, but boy are we making an impact. I’m so proud, blessed, and grateful to be president of this amazing organization,” says Stewart.
Here, she shares how her partnership with BAND-AID brand OURTONE came to be, her advice for aspiring professional dancers, thoughts on her “DWTS” partnerships, and more.
On manifesting dream opportunities “I was on tour with ‘Dancing with the Stars’ this past winter and cut my foot onstage. I didn’t even know that one of our wardrobe women had bought BAND-AID brand OURTONE bandages, but when I had a quick change in the middle of the performance, I quickly reached into the box and put on a bandage. When I looked down at my foot, I saw that the bandage matched my skin tone. I’m 34, and it was the first time in my life that I looked down and saw a bandage that matched my skin tone, and it was really impactful for me. Of course, it was a quick moment, but it really made a difference. At that same time, I had been talking about how I wanted to partner with an organization that celebrated diversity and do something impactful through that with Share The Movement. Three weeks later I got an email from BAND-AID brand OURTONE asking to partner up. My mind was blown. It felt so special. I believe that everything happens for a reason. If you put it out there you never know, something could come and return from it.”
The most meaningful part of these pop-up events “Seeing the little Black and brown kids that showed up really touched me, and I felt like our mission was being put into action. We were starting at that foundational level for kids to come and be seen, feel heard, and feel like they are being celebrated for who they are.”
Her advice for aspiring professional dancers “The number one thing is to always be authentic to yourself. That’s really all you truly have—not only as an artist but as a human. Being authentic will get you far. Next, dream big. I dream in this limitless way. Sometimes I think I’m crazy, but I’m not. I just have big goals and dreams and I think that’s OK. I think it’s OK to go for what you want, and to not be afraid to step into spaces where you’re the only one. Be limitless, be fearless, and be yourself.”
The inside scoop on her “DWTS” partnerships: “Every partner I’ve had on ‘DWTS’ has been completely different. Johnny Weir was a figure skater and LGBTQ+ advocate. Martin Cove was 76 years old and could barely move, but he was so nice and great. Of course, Daniel Durant is an inspiration, and we really got the opportunity to shed light on the Deaf community and Deaf culture. With Adrian, I had this football player to take into a different place with my choreography. I made him spin me over his head. Throughout all my partnerships something that’s really important to me is connection, and showing a different side of my partner to America.”