Sunday, 3 January 2016

Gaza Ballet School

Standard YouTube Licence

I am grateful to Alison Winward, one of my fellow students at KNT, for drawing the Gaza ballet school to my attention. "Did you know there's a ballet school in Gaza?" she wrote. "I thought that was just awesome." I agree. In that 141 square mile strip of territory in which nearly 2 million people are crammed and which has been subject to regular bombardment for nearly 70 years, it is comforting to read of this beacon of culture and education.

Ballet classes take place at the premises of the AM Qattan Foundtion, a British charity that promotes the arts and education in Palestine and Lebanon. The school was featured in a report for Reuters by Nidal al-Mughrabi entitled Pirouettes and plenty of pink at Gaza's only ballet school 30 Nov 2915 which was picked up by newspapers around the world including the Daily Mail.

Reports like this remind us that ballet belongs to the world and not just to countries that are predominately white or relatively wealthy. One of the first articles that I published was about a remarkable teacher in Kenya called Mike Wamaya and his work in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Nairobi (see What can be achieved by a good teacher 3 March 2013). Michaela DePrince, one of the most exciting young dancers in the world, was inspired to dance while she was still a child in Sierra Leone (see Michaela DePrince at TEDx Amsterdam 28 Nov 2014). I have heard that it is her ambition to see a ballet school in Freetown and if it is not hers then it is certainly mine (see A Ballet School for Freetown 20 May 2014).

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