As shock and outrage grows over the recent violent gang rape of 16-year-old Brazilian girl, Brazil’s fight to protect women is gaining critical momentum. But beyond the protests and lawmaking, community leaders across the country are creating safe spaces for women in their own neighborhoods.
Tuany Nascimento, 22, founded Na Ponte Dos Pe (On Our Tiptoes), a ballet school that serves as a community space for young girls in the favelas of Complexo do Alemão in Rio De Janiero. Nascimento, a ballet dancer and student at Celso Lisboa college, teaches the ballet classes in a cramped sports court with only one ballet barre. The girls, whose ages range from 4 to 17, can pirouette and plié as long as they show their report card to Nascimento.
“Once you are here, you have rules, you have discipline, you have challenges—all are things that you are going to find in your life. I will not have 49 ballerinas. If I have one, marvelous! But let’s have 49 girls who have an educated mind and are looking for a better future, where they know they have options. The majority think: I’m going to get a job near my home, then I’ll be a mother. They don’t leave the walls of the community. I want to show them that the world is large and that there’s a chance for everybody,” says Nascimento in an interview with Marie Claire.
In October of 2013, the ballet school received funding from the President of CEASA-Central State Supply of Rio de Janeiro S/A. Clothes and ballet slippers were included in this package, but renovations for the sports room have yet to be passed.
For more information, check out the ballet studio’s website balletnapontadospes.weebly.com and some more photos below: