The city of Detroit has been without a Black female-owned skating club, but that changed on Saturday when Dream Detroit Skating Academy (DDSA) officially opened its doors for prospects and enthusiasts of the sport.
And besides making history as the first Black female-owned skating club in “Motor City”, the DDSA is also reportedly the state of Michigan’s only Black-owned figure skating club. The academy, which will be overseen by Angela Blocker-Loyd, Candice Tamakloe and Crystal Stewart, will offer skating classes for people interested in taking up the sport, per Detroit Free Press.
The classes will take place at the Adams Butzel Recreation Center-Jack Adams Memorial Ice Arena, and the academy will offer lessons for novice skaters through to the advanced level.
“There has never been a skater at the national or international level to come out of the city of Detroit,” Tamakloe told the news outlet. “We want to bring that quality back into the city.”
Tamakloe’s sentiments are also re-echoed on the academy’s official website. “Exposure facilitates many of our youth’s interests. Interests are the seeds that inspire dreams, and dreams fuel our drive for success,” the academy says. “Unfortunately, figure skating is an opportunity to which few Detroit youth are exposed, but Dream Detroit is working to change that.”
The academy was also set up to provide the opportunity for low-income youths in Detroit to take up figure skating lessons without having to dig deep into their pockets. Interested learners can also choose between group and private lessons, and children as young as four years old can enroll.
“Candice and Angela firmly believe that figure skating is not readily available to Detroit’s youth, but there is no reason that the community should not have access to the same opportunities afforded to suburban communities across the globe,” the academy explains.
“By introducing this non-traditional sport, Dream Detroit hopes to instill, in its students, a sense of self-worth, community, curiosity, and most importantly, the confidence to explore opportunities beyond the scope of their familiar environment. DDSA students will also gain discipline, dedication, independence, leadership skills, creativity and healthy competitive habits.”
The academy said people who enroll will be entitled to group lessons with a trained figure skating professional and also earn full membership with the U.S. Figure Skating Association (USFSA). Students will learn to skate skills tests and badges and additionally be granted the opportunity to partake in local competitions among other benefits.