ABOUT TURNING TABLES
The dance art form can be perceived as elitist, eliminating the opportunity for minorities to envision themselves as dancers. Turning Tables was created with a goal to bridge the gap between minorities and dance. By fostering opportunity to underrepresented youth and by exposing dance as a viable career option, Turning Tables strives to give minorities visibility to dance so that they can feel as though they are equally capable to participate and succeed as their more advantaged counterparts. Turning Tables is about changing the perspective on how society views dance as an art form.
Commencing with a successful dance performance fundraiser in the spring of 2018, Turning Tables Project consisted of thought-provoking pieces that brought attention to the underrepresentation of minorities in Ballet, the unfair standard that minorities have to overcome, and the implicit bias that society puts toward minorities. Turning Tables has the mission of providing outreach dance programs to underrepresented communities and to provide underrepresented youth with the opportunity to participate in order to make dance more accessible to everyone.
It is important to have multiple initiatives in order to make the biggest impact. Turning Tables is interested in collaborating with partners and to explore the best ways to make a difference.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Camryn Stafford credits the beginning of her dance education to Dallas Black Dance Academy and Booker T. Washington HSPVA, where she had the opportunity to dance on the Allegro Performing Ensemble and Repertory Dance Company II and train at various summer programs including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, the Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Debbie Allen Dance Academy. A current student at Princeton University studying Economics with certificates in Dance and Entrepreneurship, Camryn has performed works by Netta Yerushalmy and Christopher Ralph and is a member of DiSiac Dance Company.
Camryn Stafford is the Founder and Executive Director of Turning Tables Inc., a nonprofit organization that strives to increase diversity in dance and challenge society’s perspective on discriminatory practices in dance. Through Turning Tables Camryn has provided students and professional dancers with a platform to choreograph on select topics of diversity and inclusion, allowed student volunteers to give back to the Dallas community by teaching dance classes to underrepresented youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Dallas, and given striving dancers opportunities to continue their training through SITT, a summer program hosted virtually by Turning Tables. Camryn has choreographed multiple evening-length pieces, for Turning Tables to inform the audience about issues of underrepresentation, implicit bias, and unfair standards in the dance world.
Camryn has been awarded dance high Honors, highest academic honors, great service to the dance department, various academic scholarships, and dance guild scholarship from Booker T. Washington HSPVA, as well as the Peter B. Lewis scholarship and Outstanding Work by a freshman from the Lewis Center of the Arts at Princeton University.
A striving professional dancer and arts administrator, Camryn hopes to continue to use her platform to advocate for social change and reform through her initiatives.