Nearly six months after the murder of dancer O’Shae Sibley, one of his alma maters -the
Philadelphia Dance Company, also known as Philadanco, has announced the establishment of a scholarship in his honor.
The O’Shae Scholarship Program was officially announced earlier this month following the success of the $20,000 GoFundMe campaign started by Philadanco founder Joan Myers Myers Brown.
“We now have nine young guys in what we call our O’Shae Scholarship Program,” Myers Brown said to Philadelphia Gay News.
Scholarship recipients who are aged 12 through 18 are set to receive waived tuition and a stipend that covers classes, dancewear, and transportation.
Sibley was tragically murdered while voguing to Beyoncé's Renaissance album at a Brooklyn area gas station when Dmitry Popov stabbed him to death. Popov was charged with a hate crime and second-degree murder.
Hundreds donated to the fund including Beyonce herself. “She did not want it to be known that she was contributing — but I think when the news said they were dancing to her music, she was touched by that,” said Myers Brown
At age 14 years Sibley began dancing at Phildanco, where he trained for over a decade before migrating to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and performing for various dance groups throughout New York City.
Myers Brown remembers Sibley fondly, especially naming his dedication and diligence to his dancing craft. “He came to class regularly. He worked hard, and he seemed determined to be a good dancer.”
Originally founded in 1970 by Myers Brown, Philadanco was established due to professional dance companies' unwillingness to accept Black dancers.
Over 40 years later, Philadanco is a nationally and internationally recognized touring ballet company.
Myers Brown describes Phildanco as a safe space for male dance students who identify as LGBTQ+ or come from marginalized backgrounds and experiences.
“We will take care of these boys as long as they’re interested in dance training,” said Myers Brown.