Ballerina in viral photo at Lee Monument co-authors children’s book

Ballerina in viral photo at Lee Monument co-authors children’s book

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A photo of two young ballerinas at the Lee Monument that has been seen all over the world has inspired a new children’s book.

“My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams,” was written by dancer Ava Holloway and her mother Amanda Lynch following what they call a “chance encounter” at the Lee Monument in June.

“We did not go to the statue with the intention of going viral at all,” explained Amanda Lynch. “We heard the governor say he was ordering the statue be removed, I asked Ava if she wanted to go take pictures and she asked if she could take her pointe shoes, she and her best friend like to do that.”

Ava and her friend Kennedy have been dancing with the Central Virginia Dance Academy for years. They decided to take their pointe shoes and dance clothes down to Monument as they worked with Richmond photographer Marcus Ingram.

The pair caught the eye of other photographers in the area at the time. An image of Ava and Kennedy captured by Julia Rendleman has now gone viral.

“We’re getting comments from places like Ireland, where Kennedy and Ava were the first black ballerinas they had ever seen,” said Lynch. “Kennedy and Ava are on the cover of a newspaper in Ireland.”

Lynch and Holloway say the “chance encounter” has launched the girls into a summer of activism and it inspired the mother and daughter to write a poem that they have published as a children’s book.

“I’ve gathered that you can change someone’s opinions based on your actions and you can be light for someone else,” explained Holloway.

“My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams” is described as “a tale about a chance encounter at the Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond, Virginia, which catapulted these Black ballerinas into a summer of activism and dance.” The book ties in social justice with ballet terms.

“I want people that look like me that are also dancers to know that ballet, though it started as a white art form, and known to be the foundation of dance--it can be so much more than that--we can be more than just race,” said Holloway.

Holloway and her friends have started a dance scholarship through ‘Brown Girls do Ballet’ to make dance classes and attire affordable and accessible.

“All of these chance encounters created this moment that we hope continues to promote change and start a movement--of artists using their gifts to promote change,” said Lynch.

‘My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams’ is available for presale until July 12th.

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