Alexandra de Roos has lived a very full life. She has trained at the highest level of dance in New York City, started a non-profit, and been crowned Miss Gainesville’s Outstanding Teen. That’s right, she’s a teen — this busy lady is 17 years old and making waves in each activity she participates in.
Alexandra’s story starts with her love of dance. As so many competitive dancers do, she started dancing from a very young age. The more she danced, the more she loved it.
“At 11, I knew that I wanted to dance with a professional ballet company.”
Alexandra also recognized what a financial burden that dance was for some of her peers. She hated seeing people leaving the sport she loved because of different fees — it all added up so quickly!
One of the main expenses Alexandra noticed was clothing. It costs around $100 for a pair of tights, a leotard, and a pair of dance flats (toe shoes are another expense when they become necessary). Especially as young dancers grow, this clothing cost can increase at a rapid pace! Alexandra, at the age of 8, decided to do something about this.
Soon, Alexandra had set up space in her studio for girls to bring the dance clothes they didn’t need anymore. That’s the thing with growing girls — when you grow quickly, your clothes aren’t heavily used before they get to be too small! These lightly-used clothes were then distributed to girls who needed them. Thus began Alexandra’s creation of Peace Love Leotards (PLL).
Peace Love Leotards became an official non-profit organization last year.
“It’s a global organization now, which I’m really proud to say.”
With this official step, Alexandra saw some big changes for what was a childhood idea. PLL now has 20 ambassadors across the globe, setting up collection sites and distribution plans throughout their communities. The organization has seen positive press in large dance magazines, as well as corporate donors and dancewear companies who send clothing to Alexandra (yes, it stays in boxes in her garage, organized by size). The clothing that Peace Love Leotard collects is donated entirely for free, through applications that contain information regarding an individual’s studio, situation, and specific needs.
“I’ve been doing a lot of research and learning about why the arts are important.”
As someone who has personally benefited from an artistic upbringing, Alexandra feels why the arts are important, but she’s added “research” to PLL’s to-do list. This way, she can advocate for the arts in the most efficient, helpful manner possible. She is currently building a comprehensive dance curriculum that can be distributed in schools (or sent to individuals), bringing an arts education to people who may not normally have access.
“I’m the person I am today because of the arts.”