Is 2021 the year of the woman? The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region sure seems to think so, and they are ready to celebrate by showcasing a few dynamic women right here in the Pikes Peak region. On Feb. 1, as part of the #ElevatedbyArt campaign series, COPPeR and a team of regional art leaders shared a new video titled “Boss It Up” featuring dancer and entrepreneur Latisha Hardy and the Boss Ladies dance team.
The #ElevatedbyArt campaign was launched in October of 2020 by a collective of creators and leaders in the arts in Colorado Springs. Its purpose is to illustrate the importance of the arts in lifting up and supporting the community as a whole through shared stories, creative efforts and experiences. Prominent local creators like Hardy are given a platform to share their work, and the community is invited to collaborate by sharing their own stories and posts at the campaign website, elevatedbyart.com.
Hardy established the Latisha Hardy Dance Studio in 2010. While salsa is the form of dance she says helped her to persevere through tough times, the studio embraces multiple types of dance including mambo, bachata, kizomba and zouk, with online options for participation.
The studio’s ladies’ team welcomes dancers of all ages and backgrounds, offering them a chance to perform together. The team meets several days each week to train and has built a sort of camaraderie — a benefit in addition to the endorphins generated by the rigors of dance.
“The dance floor is the only place I feel I can truly express myself,” says Hardy. “My goal today is to empower the world to empower themselves through the art of dance.”
The new video shared by the studio certainly achieves that goal. It features clips of the dance team performing together, interspersed with clips of the dancers sharing candid stories about difficult experiences in their personal lives and how dance empowered them to heal. During the video, Hardy shares her own personal experience about planning for her future after getting out of an abusive relationship.
“The only goal I had in life was to say yes to any opportunity that I could,” said Hardy.
Her passion caught the attention of the #ElevatedbyArt team, who was excited to share Hardy’s enthusiasm and message of empowerment as part of the campaign.
“The #ElevatedbyArt campaign committee was just so moved by Latisha’s energy and commitment to empowering her students,” says campaign chair Angela Seals, “We believe she literally embodies the healing power of art as she passes it along to her students.”