Rejoicing in heritage

51 black female dancers celebrate Black History Month at White House

Local students perform for US First Lady Michelle Obama at the end of a day-long dance workshop to highlight contributions African American women have made to dance as part of Black History Month celebrations at the White House in Washington, DC, February 8, 2016. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

It was showcase of black girl magic yesterday at the White House, where Debbie Allen, Judith Jameson (of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater), Virginia Johnson, and Fatima Robinson, joined the First Lady for a day of all-female dance classes in a variety of styles, from African to ballet. First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed the dancers to the Blue Room, where the group of local African American girls danced beneath portraits of former American presidents.

“From tribal rhythms to freedom songs, from modern work to hip-hop, their work has stirred our souls and ignited our imagination,” Obama said, speaking to the dance influencers leading the panel’s classes. “Through dance they have told the stories of who we are, who we were, and who we can be.” Debbie Allen posted a series of videos of the girls practice performances to Instagram, where she called young performers “phenomenal.”

Watch the full performance at The White House.

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