Meet The Teens Who Danced In Front of Robert E. Lee’s Statue In Protest

Supermajority Education Fund

June 9, 2020

When Ava Holloway and Kennedy George decided to pose for a photo dancing en pointe in front of Richmond’s soon-to-be removed Robert E. Lee statue, they did not realize the image would soon go viral worldwide.

Ava and Kennedy, both 14, have been studying at Central Virginia Dance Academy since they were four years old and have done photoshoots at outdoor events and gatherings before. But the moment they arrived at the Lee statue on Saturday, they knew that this moment was different.

People were being very supportive. A lot of people were asking us questions,” recalled Kennedy. “So many people who passed us in their cars honked in support and everyone enjoyed it so much. It was just so genuine.”

Ava agreed, adding that this was the first protest they attended in which they incorporated their work as dancers. “I don’t think we were really expecting that reaction from people,” she said.

Supermajority News got to chat with the two lifelong friends about how the photo came about and what message they have for other young activists using their voices today.

Credit: Ava Holloway

Tell us what it was like being at the protest this weekend.

Ava: What a lot of people don’t know is that a lot of things were happening behind the scenes. We were out there for four or five hours. We helped out a homeless man, and we were passing out water. There was so much going on.

How did you decide to do the photos in front of the Lee statue together?

Kennedy: This was totally unplanned., We didn’t even know we were going to see each other there. Ava’s mom had coordinated with one of the instructors at the studio to do a shoot and me and my mom went earlier this morning because we wanted to do individual shots. When we saw each other, that was how we got pictures with both of us.

Do you specialize in ballet?

Kennedy: We actually study all types of dance at the Central Virginia Dance Academy. We would like to say that we are pretty well rounded in terms of learning every type of dance. We just thought wearing pointe shoes would definitely symbolize the day.

How so?

Ava: I would say that because pointe is maybe one of the hardest types of dance, or close to the hardest type, and this is the hardest time we’re going through, linking those two things together fit.

The photo of you dancing in front of the statue is just one of several images we’ve seen of young protesters and activists in recent weeks. Do you feel a connection to the other kids and teens attending these protests?

Kennedy: I feel like when we see other people doing the same thing as us protesting and joining the movement I think that it connects us. We all have the same goal, and it just feels so genuine.

Ava: We’ve seen a lot of younger people like us at these protests, and I think it is really great to see the younger people in the community come together because the world is pretty much in our hands. We’re the ones who are pretty much going to have to work for the change.