Muslim girl dreams of becoming first hijab-wearing ballerina

Published: February 4, 2016
Stephanie Kurlow PHOTO: YAHOO

Stephanie Kurlow PHOTO: YAHOO

A 14-year-old Muslim girl from Sydney, Australia, is working hard to become the first hijab-wearing ballerina in the world.

Stephanie Kurlow, who had been performing on stage since she was two-years-old, quit ballet after she and her family converted to Islam six years ago. Kurlow said that she couldn’t find a school who would accept her wearing a hijab to class.

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Had such a fun photo shoot the other day!

A photo posted by sᴛᴇᴘʜᴀɴɪᴇ ᴋᴜʀʟᴏᴡ (@stephaniekurlow) on

However, now she aims to start ballet practice again with the aim to use her expertise to eventually open a diverse performing arts academy that caters to children and teenagers of different religions, races and backgrounds.

Kurlow has created a LaunchGood campaign with the hopes of raising enough money to pay for tuition and fees associated with one year of ballet school.

“This school will have special programmes for specific religions, support groups for our youth and people who are from disconnected communities,” she outlined in her LaunchGood campaign.

“I will provide for our future generations a chance to express and heal themselves and others through the magnificent art of performing and creativity,” she added.

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While she has encountered some negative feedback online, particularly from strict followers of Islam who believe dancing is haram or forbidden, she remains committed to her goals. By succeeding as the first Muslim ballerina, she aims to “inspire so many other people to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams.”

Speaking about her hijab, the 14-year-old said, “The hijab is so important to me because it’s a part of who I am and represents the beautiful religion that I love.”

“If people have the right to dress down then I have the right to dress up and my hijab is my expression of love to my creator and I believe it covers my body but not my mind, heart and talent.”

She draws inspiration from African-American ballerinas Michaela De Prince and Misty Copeland, as well as hijabi Emirati lifter Amna Al Haddad and hijabi American television news anchor Noor Tagour — other “firsts” in their field. Not to mention Kurlow’s mother, Alsu, who has already opened a performing arts academy in the Sydney suburb of Bankstown, teaching ballet, martial arts and aboriginal art classes to the local community.

Had such a fun photo shoot the other day! #wedanceasone

A photo posted by sᴛᴇᴘʜᴀɴɪᴇ ᴋᴜʀʟᴏᴡ (@stephaniekurlow) on

Just a pic from a little photo shoot in 2014 … Check out my feet … No it doesn't hurt… I must be weird ✌️ Check out the rest on my Facebook! Link in bio

A photo posted by sᴛᴇᴘʜᴀɴɪᴇ ᴋᴜʀʟᴏᴡ (@stephaniekurlow) on

Here's my practice turnboard video for @officialturnboard #teamturnboard #turnboard

A video posted by sᴛᴇᴘʜᴀɴɪᴇ ᴋᴜʀʟᴏᴡ (@stephaniekurlow) on

Had such a fun time shooting photos on a farm!!! ✌️Leave a comment below which picture you liked the best✌️

A photo posted by sᴛᴇᴘʜᴀɴɪᴇ ᴋᴜʀʟᴏᴡ (@stephaniekurlow) on

This article originally appeared on Huffington Post.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Feb 4, 2016 - 5:08PM

    The world would be such a nice place if we keep our religious beliefs to our self and let the other person live their lives by their beliefs. We should learn to co exist instead of just issuing fatwas. Lets worry about our own doings. Best of luck young lady.Recommend

  • Malik Bhaijan
    Feb 4, 2016 - 10:16PM

    It is not the hijab but their overall “tableeghi” attitude. The problem with these type of people is that they immediately start preaching islam to their non-muslim colleagues, which is what pisses off most of the western folk in the work place.Recommend

  • Hammad
    Feb 4, 2016 - 10:39PM

    Kindly Do not defame the sanctity of Hijab. Recommend

  • Point
    Feb 5, 2016 - 2:14AM


    Yep lets stop passing judgement on everyone too.Recommend

  • Waseem
    Feb 5, 2016 - 2:50AM

    Muslim girls and their love for western values don’t matchRecommend

  • Weirdity
    Feb 5, 2016 - 4:03AM

    Oh Allan! Give some common sense to your followers.Recommend

  • Saad
    Feb 5, 2016 - 6:19AM

    Beyond hideous. Why not do something that is part of OUR culture if it is so important?Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Feb 5, 2016 - 8:54PM

    Be a Roman in Rome dear – be governed by the laws of the land – not rules of your religion. Recommend

  • Carpe Diem
    Feb 6, 2016 - 9:33PM

    +1 for Allan.Recommend

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