One of L+M’s newest grantees is STEM from Dance, an organization that uses dance to empower, educate, and encourage young women as the next generation of engineers, scientists, and techies. And while dance and STEM-related skills might seem at the opposite ends of the spectrum, STEM from Dance’s founder Yamilee Toussaint Beach studied both disciplines and found that they complemented each other and supported her overall development.

STEM from Dance offers workshops throughout the year in collaboration with schools and through a summer program. Girls Rise Up is a three-week STEM summer program that teaches girls 12 through 18 dance choreography techniques and electrical engineering principles so they can create a dance routine that integrates both together. Routine components include music created through computer programming, costumes with programmed LED lights with sensors to enhance their choreography, and motion capture animations that serve as a digital backdrop.

When the young women complete the program, they will know how to write code, construct circuits, create dance compositions, and collaborate with peers. This year, with L+M’s support, Girls Rise Up was able to expand and recruit young women from the Bronx to participate in the program. In addition, Girls Rise Up shifted to a virtual dance program to allow for safe distance learning, and were lucky enough to virtually meet Misty Copeland, the first African American female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre.

Girls Rise Up students meet with American Ballet Theatre principle Misty Copeland (top left) and share how the program positively impacted their confidence and future outlook

L+M is proud to support STEM from Dance in their mission of educating young women of color through science and dance and increasing diversity in the STEM professions.