Rural Outreach ProgrammeTweet
Rural Outreach ProgrammeTweet
With 14 years’ experience of successfully running a dance outreach programme in the townships of Cape Town, Dance for All decided to replicate its programme in some of the rural areas of the Western Cape. The initial expansion occurred in 2005, when DFA entered a collaboration with the Moving Arts Project in Barrydale.
DFA Montagu was the next to be established (in 2007) and this work has subsequently spread to the surrounding areas of Zolani, Ashbury and Freshair.
In 2008, DFA’s Rural Outreach Programme was extended to McGregor and Bonnievale. Unfortunately these branches had to be discontinued in 2011. However, DFA classes have now been established in the nearby village of Robertson, with Jodi Jacobs as the teacher.
DFA Barrydale was the first rural expansion of the Outreach Programme. Students are drawn from the village and the surrounding farms, where poverty, malnutrition and social ills such as alcoholism and abuse are very real challenges these children face daily. Pauline van Buitenen offers ballet training at five schools in the Tradouw Valley during school time as part of their Arts and Culture curriculum. There’s also an advanced class in Barrydale for children who have particular talent as ballet dancers. These children live in the village and on surrounding farms. There are currently two groups: the seniors, who’ve been dancing in this group since 2009 and the juniors, who started in 2011. The seniors practise three days a week and the juniors once a week. Pauline collects the children from their schools in a bus that was donated for this purpose and takes them home after class. DFA Barrydale reaches about 380 children a week.
Pauline and some of her senior students
Since its inception in 2007, DFA Montagu has made an exceptional difference in the surrounding township communities where children face extreme poverty and difficult social circumstances. Fiona Sargeant, previously a full-time teacher at DFA, offers ballet classes, while her two dance assistants Afrika Mtikitiki and Vusumzi November teach African and hip hop. While most DFA tuition takes place in the township of Zolani, classes are expanding to Ashbury and Freshair.
Fiona has identified 10 students to attend specialised classes in Montagu, so she can nurture their talent and help them reach their full potential. These students are sponsored to attend the classes twice a week.
DFA Montagu’s success stories include a sponsored opportunity in 2010 for a talented young male dancer to continue his training at the Canadian National Ballet School; and two other students receiving bursaries in 2011 to attend the Cape Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA) in Cape Town.
DFA Montagu reaches about 120 children a week, aged six to 16.
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