WOODBRIDGE, Va. (WDVM) — Capriece Piper is a natural-born dancer sharing her gift of dance with underprivileged and at-risk girls in Prince William County, Virginia.

Piper is the owner of Divine Inspirations Center For The Arts (DICA), which was born out of Capriece’s passion to cultivate social equality, academic success, and physical and mental wellness. 

“I was put on this earth to do exactly what I’m doing now, to give back to my community, to pour into young ladies, to pour into my community,” said Piper.

Piper is a trailblazer in every sense of the word and is the first Black woman in Prince William County to have a dance studio in a mall, but it’s always been more than dance for Piper. She noticed there was a lack of affordable opportunities in her community for girls to engage in recreational activities, so she removed that barrier by offering scholarships and funding to families that need financial help.

“Because for Capriece, it was more than just about dance,” said Sylvia Piper, Capriece’s Mother-in-Law & Nominator. “She wanted to create a community, a village where she could train up young girls, develop this self esteem, their character, and then send it back out to communities where they can make a difference.”

Capriece’s journey has led her to be a positive influence in the lives of untold girls and young women.  Piper believes in being the mentor you needed when you were young, so seeks to increase the self-esteem and character development of every girl who steps foot in her studio. 

“She’s a very kind person and she’s a very big role model to me to see how much she’s done and what she’s achieved,” said Madison Wilson, DICA Majorette. “She doesn’t walk around looking messy. You see her, you see her outfit,  she looks really nice. And it’s just great to see what she’s done and how many kids she’s teaching.”

Trademarks of the DICA organization are teamwork, community involvement, and family values. Capriece has been engaged in community service since 2015. Her commitment to making an impact in the community-led her to incorporate volunteerism as part of the DICA program.

Not only is Piper a mother-figure at DICA, but she also is a wife and mother of five. But somehow still remains invested in all aspects of her dancers’ lives from their school work, family life, and mental health. 

“She has that open spirit, and she’s very welcoming and warm,” said Erica McPherson, DICA Studio Manager. “And you talk to her, she’ll sit down there and listen, and then she’s willing to help you.”

Piper came a long way from starting DICA in her Mother-in-Laws’ living room, but it wasn’t always an easy journey as a small minority not-for-profit business. Even now, she still struggles to meet all of the demands and hopes to continue to expand so she can serve the need in the community. But even though her struggles, she never lost sight of her “why.”

“I’ve gone through a lot of trials, a lot of tribulations, but what I can say is that no matter what I’m going through when I walk through those doors, and I see this purple wall with this wonderful logo, that’s right behind me…it brightens up my day because it reminds me that I am walking in my calling,” said Piper.

For more information about Capriece and DICA, visit their website.