Monday, 9 January 2017

Recognition for the Kibera Ballet Class

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I first wrote about Mike Wamaya's ballet class in Nairobi in What can be achieved by a good teacher 3 March 2013:
"In many ways the kids in this class have had the worst possible start in life but in one very important respect they could not have had a better one. Look at the teacher, Mike Wamaya. He is good. I googled for some more information on Mike and I found an even better clip from CNN and this article in The Daily Nation. These films show what can be achieved from the discipline not only in the studio but also in the class room and in life generally. Something that I and most readers of this blog in many walks of life are likely to have found out for ourselves."
I mentioned them again in Back to Africa 7 Jan 2015, Revisiting Kenya with Obama 25 July 2015 and Al Jazeera features the Ballet Class in the Nairobi Slums 19 Oct 2016.

In the last of those posts, I mentioned that students from Kibera were taking classes at the Dance Centre Kenya which is directed by the US dancer Cooper Rust. On 3 and 4 Dec 2016, some of those dancers took part in the Dance Centre Kenya's performance of The Nutcracker at the Kenya National Theatre (see Dance Performance: The Nutcracker by Dance Centre Kenya, Dec. 3 & 4 2016 @ the Kenya National Theatre 2 Dev 2016 Nairobi Now :: arts, culture and events). Those performances were, of course, big news in Kenya (see Billy Odidi Holiday season starts with ‘The Nutcracker’ dance 1 Dec 2016 Business Daily) but the class was noticed internationally.   The Huffington Post featured the artists in  Striking Photos Of The Ballet Program Bringing Strength To One Of Africa’s Biggest Slums 14 Dec 2016 and now The Guardian has added a film about them to its Facebook page.

Now that this remarkable initiative has been discovered it is important not to forget it. These kids need encouragement and resources and it is important to build on what has already been achieved.

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