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Margie Sim (PDTD – ARAD) is Head of the Ballet Programme, one of two specialised ballet streams at DFA. She has identified and auditioned students from Nyanga and Athlone and has her Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Ballet classes running in both Nyanga and Athlone.
Because of the vast amount of talent in all the township areas, she has set up Specialised Beginners Ballet classes in Khayelitsha and Gugulethu. Hopefully, if there is funding, these pupils will also be taken to the studios in Athlone once a week so they can experience working in a professional dance studio.
Margie is passionate about ensuring that the students get a very sound classical ballet training, which will stand them in good stead for a future career in dance. This in turn will help them to get out of their very difficult circumstances. She feels strongly that if you teach dance in a township area where people struggle with poverty and social problems such as crime, you have no right to simply offer them a one-dimensional, fun experience. It’s imperative that you make a difference and that you produce: you have to teach them strong technique, which will help to open up a new world for them.
To meet this need, Margie has developed a syllabus combining elements of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), Cecchetti and Vaganova methods. She also incorporates Pilates and other body-centred approaches to help the students understand and strengthen their bodies and learn to work to their full potential.
Most importantly, to give them stage experience, she arranges for them to dance in as many eisteddfods and other performances as possible. As a way of linking dance performances with the students’ life experiences, she often choreographs numbers, such as 'Xenophobia', to help them work through and cope with their stark and sometimes frightening circumstances. Ultimately, her programme is designed to prepare the students for a future career in dance.  

                                                                                                     Photo by Roger Bosch

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