Sunday, 12 June 2016
Another Great Teacher
One of my very first and most popular posts was about the Kenyan dance teacher, Mike Wamaya, who gave ballet classes to kids from one of the roughest neighbourhoods of Nairobi and raised their aspirations not just in dance but in everything they do (see What can be achieved by a good teacher 3 March 2013). I revisited Mike's dance class in Back to Africa 7 Jan 2015 and Revisiting Kenya with Obama 25 July 2015).
I have now come across another remarkable teacher called Tuany Nascimento who does very similar work in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro (see Taylor Barnes How a Ballet School in the Slums of Brazil Is Changing Girls' Lives 27 April 2016 Marie Claire and Sarah Grossman Ballet Class For Girls In Rio Slum Is Free With Good Report Cards 10 June 2016 Huffington Post reported by Network Dance). A film has been made of her by Nownesss entitled Dancing for the Future 25 May 2016 which is also on Vimeo and she has a website called Na Punto Dos Pés or On Pointe.
Dance has made an enormous difference to my life. I took my first ballercise lesson when I was at my lowest ebb one month after losing my late spouse to motor neurone disease and just a few months after literally life changing surgery of my own during which time I had to run down my practice. Ballercise led to ballet which I took up at the grand old age of 64. My classes gave me something to which I could look forward and gradually restored my confidence and hope. The discipline for class is a discipline for life which can be applied to anything. I used it to restore my practice and rebuild my life.
I have been exceptionally privileged having been educated at the same secondary school as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the same university as the heir to the throne and one of America's greatest research universities. If dance can do so much for me imagine what it can do for Mike Wamaya's kids in Nairobi or Tuany Nascimento's in Rio.