El Paso’s Harlem Ballerina

El Paso News

For some, dancing is a night out, for others it’s an art to express yourself. A local ballerina is now dancing herself to the Big Apple.

Exodis Ward may not fit the image of a stereotypical ballerina, but that hasn’t stopped her from earning her way into the summer institute of the world-class Dance Theater of Harlem in New York City. The renowned dance school is known as “the first Black classical ballet company” and continues to train Black and Latino dancers to this day. 

Her instructor, Andree Harper, has been with her since day one, step by dance stop. She’s watched the ballerina’s skills quickly bloom.

“What I met her she was very shy, kind of introverted, but there was a spark that she has never lost. I saw her just bloom from a shy little girl into a very competent experienced dancer,” Harper said.

Exodis told KTSM that ballet was different from the other forms of dance she’d tried. “It challenged me in a different way because some things I pick up really easily, but ballet was one of those things that continued to push me, so I had to dry harder every single day,” she said.

Counting down the days until she leaves for New York, you’ll find her inside the studio most days perfecting her technique and introducing the art of ballet to young girls. 

“Dancing for me just means bettering myself even if it’s not just through ballet in general. It teaches me great posture, how to treat other people, and how to be a good person overall – not just in the studio but outside the studio also,” Exodis said.

She hopes one day she’ll be able to help those on the same path as hers. 

“If I just manage to make one other girl feel comfortable, that would be amazing. That’s one more person that could possibly be a dancer that society may have told her she couldn’t have done it,” Exodis said.   

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