dance is the hidden language of the soul ~Martha Graham
Ukulapha Community Outreach, working with Slangspruit Primary School and the Slangspruit community in South Africa, has recently launched a 2017 Student Dance Program!
Over the last few months, we have partnered with Bonwa Mbontsi, a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and co-founder of the Lahl'umlenze Dance Initiative, (An outreach youth development program.)
This is a unique opportunity for school representation, exposure, and creating partnerships throughout the community.
This program offers the students a creative outlet, team building skills, confidence and self esteem.
Auditions were held over the months of January and February, and 30 students were chosen for this project!
The children's willingness to learn and participate has been overwhelming, as they attend each practice session with excitement and positive energy.
BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP TO FUND THIS PROGRAM.
Your contribution will help us cover the costs of:
Twice weekly dance lessons (4 hours total/week)
Supplemental performance practices
4 public staged performances
(first performance recently in March - Hexagon Theatre)
Costumes for all 30 members
Travel expenses to performances
Marketing materials for upcoming performances (posters, etc...)
After-practice snacks for all children (apple/orange per child)
DANCE INITIATIVE PROGRAM DIRECTOR/CHOREOGRAPHER
Bonwa Mbontsi is a dancer, choreographer and teacher based in KZN, Pietermaritzburg. He began dancing and performing in 2006 and has since been a committed dance theatre practitioner. He graduated from Maritzburg College and UKZN, Pietermaritzburg, where he obtained a BA degree in Psychology and Drama & Performance Studies, with a specific focus on dance performance and choreography. Bonwa interned at The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collective in Johannesburg for one year where he had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographer and dancer, PJ Sabbagha, as well as Fana Tshabalala, Shanell Winlock and Craig Morris. He was an educator at Maritzburg College (2013 – 2016), where he taught Dramatic Arts (GET and FET) and English. During that time, he co-founded ReRouted Dance Theatre with Tegan Peacock and Ashleigh Joubert, and the company has presented works on various dance platforms and festivals around the country. He co-founded the Lahl’umlenze Dance Initiative, an outreach youth development programme, which operates in Melmoth in through an NGO call J.A.W. (Justice And Women), as well as in Pietermaritzburg.
The SUPER TROUPERS DANCE GROUP were thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in their first performance at the Hexagon Theatre (University of KwaZulu-Natal) as part of a collective TIME2DANCE showcase!
Director/choreographer Bonwa Mbontsi could not have been prouder of how the students rose to the challenge of performing in front of a live audience!
In Bonwa's own words,
"...teachers mentioned how pleasantly surprised and pleased they were to see certain learners who aren't the strongest academically, who lack self-discipline, and some who have self-esteem issues in class, doing so well in the performance space. I spoke briefly with Mrs. Sithole (Slangspruit Primary School Department Head) and she agreed that we need to meet next term to discuss the Super-Troupers' individual academic and overall school performance in relation to the project.
After the performance I gave Mr. Msomi (Slangspruit Primary School Principal) a DVD and each of the Troupers a copy to take home to show their families. Ms. Dube (Slangspruit Primary School teacher who works with the Super Troupers) said that some parents phoned her on Saturday to express their gratitude for their childrens' involvement in the project and were sad that they could not attend the performance at the theatre. Nonetheless, they seem pleased about the project and are glad that there will be other opportunities for them to see their children performing on stage (those who can afford to). I believe that this first quarter has been successful for this project. I am so proud of the Super Troupers and what they have achieved. The feedback from the troupers, the teachers, Mr. Msomi -- the school as a whole -- has been positive and supportive. As we continue along this creative journey, I know that the troup will continue to grow in strength and in numbers. Thank you Ukulapha Community Outreach Project, and especially you Carolyn - for what has been a most beautiful and rewarding experience!"