Dancing in Kenya
Kasia and myself have been in Nairobi Kenya for two weeks now, during this time we have been busy working on dance projects with range of community groups. Our first visit was to the Kids to Kids project, a school set up for street children and funded by independant people. We had 25 children ages 7-14 and lead them through active, creative dance classes involving different body connections, dance spinners and a parachute, and encouraged moments for sharing and feedback.
Dance into Space
Our next project was with a group dancers with a range of backgrounds. They came together through the work of Ondiege who runs a professional dance company called Dance into Space at the Go Down Arts Centre in Nairobi. Ondiege and Louisa (Arts Odyssey) met last year and as a result, this project has been possible.
We lead a 4 day intensive workshop, covering Vinyasa Yoga, Release technique, Contact Improvisation, introduction to Laban Movement Analysis and creative devising. During this time we discovered how important this type of training was for these young guys and how limited they are for learning dance theory and different techniques. We had an exceptional time with them due to their hard working attitude and dedication to the learning process. One of the guys Prince who is an experienced dancer shared with us feedback that 'yoga had helped him to connect to his body in a completely new way.' Brian a younger talented dancer said that the Laban Movement Analysis helped him to see choreography with endless possibilities and made him realize he had been limiting himself when creating movement. We also received many comments of thanks and appreciation which was very heartwarming for us both.
Overall Kasia and myself have been blown away by the dedication and eagerness to learn from these very talented young guys during only 4 days. Their ability and potential as contemporary dancers is exceptional and we are in awe that their learning has been sufficiently limited by occasional classes, youtube and each other. However, as Louisa felt when she first visited dancers in Eastern Africa, we worry that their futures will struggle with lack of opportunities for training and developing their skills. Our endeavour is to support Arts Odyssey's vision to spread not only the word of their talent but also the desperate need for more training opportunities that will help to sustain their unique passion for dance.
Ondiege's Evaluation from Dance into Space