January 28, 2009

AGYA Students Participate in Canadian Volunteer Jessica Dexter’s “Dance For Life” Program

As part of our on-going commitment to the arts, 10 AGYA students are participating in “Dance For Life,” a program implemented by Canadian volunteer, Jessica Dexter. Held every Monday and Wednesday at Uganda’s National Theatre, AGYA students between the ages of 14 and 18 are learning basic skills in jazz, hip-hop, breakdancing, tap, and contemporary African dance.

Dance For Life Program Instructor and Vancouver dance instructor, Jessica Dexter, says "she believes the power of dance is transformative because through dance, the body-mind connection is strengthened, achieving healthy balance. It's also a way for kids to use self-expression. They are orphans who have been through so much. I truly believe that dance acts as an artistic outlet for people to express themselves and let out any of their pent-up feelings they might have. Dance has a direct connection with emotion."It is also, she says, "a powerful way to increase self-esteem" when performed (quote taken from Jessica's Journey of A Gypsy BlogSpot available online at http://journeyofagypsy.blogspot.com/ )

Not only has “Dance For Life” given our students the wonderful opportunity to learn dance and choreography from a trained dancer, but it has also given them a chance to explore Kampala’s city center, a rare opportunity for some of them whose families are too poor to give them the 500 Ugandan shillings (about 30 cents) for transportation from the village of Nabulagala to Kampala city. On Monday, January 26th, after attending the first dance lesson, 16 year old AGYA student Shamira Nansubuga returned to the AGYA House full of excitement. Eager to show AGYA co-founders Divinity and Abraham what she learned, Shamira happily performed the dance routine she had learned earlier that day as part of the 6 hour, intensive dance training session.

AGYA is excited that our students have been given an opportunity to explore their talents, and we look forward to embracing new opportunities that will surely arise in the future.

To learn more about Dance For Life, visit http://www.innovativecommunities.org/ or http://journeyofagypsy.blogspot.com/