Ballet Spartanburg gets $10K from TikTok dancer

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A Spartanburg dance center recently received a very generous donation from a famous TikTok dancer.

“We have to keep everyone safe–our dancers, our instructors, our staff, our patrons, our audience members–so we have had no live performances,” Executive Director of Ballet Spartanburg Teresa Hough said.

Because of COVID, those at Ballet Spartanburg have had to cut back to a skeletal crew and have lost a lot of money with not being able to perform in front of a live audience.

“We earn about 70% of our earned income on ticket sales from ‘The Nutcracker,'” Hough said.

It’s no secret the pandemic has kept them on their toes.

Then, out of nowhere, Hough said she got a phone call about a grant they never applied for.

“You have no idea what this feels like during a pandemic. No one just thinks that someone’s going to call and gift you $10,000,” Hough said. “During a pandemic, those phone calls are non-existent.”

It comes after famous Tik Tok dancer Charli D’Amelio was told by TikTok that they’d give her $100,000 once she reached 100,000,000 followers. And she did.

“She’s right behind Beyonce,” Hough said.

Charli D’Amelio then donated that money to the American Dance Movement, telling them to give it to dance centers that had proven to serve their community.

Only 10 of roughly 35,000 dance centers across the U.S. were chosen, including Spartanburg.

“We’re just Ballet Spartanburg in Spartanburg, South Carolina,” Hough said.

Hough told 7 News the money will go towards paying their instructors.

“They were worried about it. They didn’t know if they were going to have a job,” she said.

It will also help with paying the rent at the Chapman Cultural Center.

“Make sure that our students have the quality instruction that they receive from our teachers. It keeps our doors open. It keeps our lights on.”

Hough said she still can’t believe their luck.

“I’d compare that to me winning the lottery,” Hough said. “It just doesn’t happen. It’s just one of these blessings that comes out of nowhere. We’re still kind of dancing on that ‘Wow’ moment.”

Ballet Spartanburg said they’re hopeful they’ll be able to present their 2021-2022 season in October, beginning with the family-friendly performance, “The Wizard of Oz,” because they said there’s no place like home at Ballet Spartanburg.

For more information about Ballet Spartanburg, click here.

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