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Dance International
Written by: VVR
12/11/2007

Dance for Peace is a not-for-profit (503c3 tax exempt) dance foundation based in New York. The organization fosters a cultural exchange program that uses urban dance to elevate underprivileged aspiring dancers across the globe. Our organization sends teams of dance teachers and performers to students living in countries recovering from civil conflict.

These teachers facilitate workshops in various urban dance styles to children and young adults who dont have the resources to pursue their dreams in dance. Working together and learning about dance, the students improve their self-esteem, learn to solve problems and share in each others creativity regardless of their differences. Some of those students later become participants in the CAST program.

CAST - CAREER ADVANCEMENT SCHOLARSHIP TRAINING


This scholarship is awarded to promising students who wish to further advance their dance education and career. This scholarship enables students to visit Philadelphia and New York City for three weeks during July & August.

Students train with dance legends in the cities that gave birth to urban dance. 
CAST also provides the students with an inside look at what it takes to make it in the commercial dance industry. Resume development, preparing for auditions and signing with an agency are a few of the issues addressed. Students are taken on tours of various dance institutions and urban dance performing arts companies where they begin to learn the inner workings of arts administration.

The purpose of this program is to equip students with the right knowledge and tools to continue building their communities at home, inspiring positive change through dance.

THE FOUNDERS & HOW IT STARTED

In 2006 two young women went separately to Lima, Peru and Cape Town, South Africa to teach urban dance workshops. What they didnt expect to see was the overwhelming passion their students had for urban dance culture and the various dance styles associated with it. Many students in these countries have the passion for dance but lack the resources to pursue their dreams of a career in dance.

These students believe that urban dance is an outlet to evoke social change and make their voices heard in their communities. Dance is an intrinsic part of their everyday existence.

Kumari Singh (South Africa, March 2006) and Ephrat Asherie (Peru, March 2006) were deeply inspired by the unwavering enthusiasm of the dancers despite the callous social, political and economic hardships they suffered daily. In the fall of 2006 Kumari & Ephrat began the Dance for Peace movement.

SOUTH AFRICA

Thanks to the help of Emile Jansen, Black Noise and their Heal the Hood Foundation, we were able to completed our first Dance for Peace: South Africa this past March 2007 in Cape Town. We were able to teach over 1,000 students of all different ages and backgrounds. We were inspired by their openness to new movement and their drive to practice and improve. What we didnt expect to see was the overwhelming passion the students had for urban dance culture and the various dance styles associated with it. These students believe that urban dance is an outlet to evoke social change and make their voices heard in their communities. Dance is an intrinsic part of their everyday existence. This trip further confirmed our belief that urban dance is a powerful means to communicate with the youth all over the world and to instill in them a strong sense of self worth and respect for others.

We have received numerous letters and testimonies regarding hundreds of students turning from drugs, gangs, violence and suicide since our time spent in South Africa. Our students understanding of urban dance has stirred a revolutionary fire within each individual. For of them to become the physical manifestation of the music is a freedom they desperately seek to nourish.

Our motivation for this project is to help cultivate the progressive urban dance culture in South Africa. It is important to teach real urban dance in the context of South Africas changing social, political and economic environment. We work with students from all over the Western Cape from various backgrounds. However, we strive to stimulate and expand the participation of Africa's poor in the development of their countries; and build sustainable African institutions that foster grassroots development.

This organization strives to teach the youth how to attain personal peace, to value themselves and each other and to work toward a togetherness that will stop the racial divide that exists in South Africa. Dance for Peace strives to build our students confidence, enabling them to implement positive change in their environment through the common denominator of dance. We may come from various walks of life still; it is the spirit of the culture that gives us one soul.

2008

THE TEMPLE OF HIP HOP

The Temple of Hip Hop, is an urban dance odyssey that addresses three main plagues attacking South Africas most prized resource, its youth. Three monks from the Temple of Hip Hop are sent to South Africa to help the youth find a solution, through urban dance, to their struggles with Racism, Aids & Drugs. The end result is a monumental triumph over these three plagues that will have the audience cheering for more. Our objective is to produce a urban based dance showcase that encompasses the various dance styles associated with urban culture. Kumari Singh and various young artists from Cape Town will choreograph this 90-minute showcase.

The showcase will provide the electric groundwork allowing the dancers of Cape Town to compliment the hip-hop lore with their amazing talents and skill. The performance, running during the Cape Town Festival March 2008, will be set up in a theater and advertised throughout the region as a showcase of urban arts. The show will run a length of four days. We are estimating the involvement of 30-40 young South African dancers. This show will highlight the Dance for Peace: South Africa students, faculty, local urban dance groups, graffiti artists, disk jockeys, singers and emcees.

GOALS

This showcase was created to serve two purposes. This program first and foremost is an outreach for the youth of Cape Town. The rehearsals are set up as free dance workshops for young adults to study and develop the various styles of dance in urban culture. Working together to build this showcase and learning about dance, the students improve their self-esteem, learn to solve problems and share in each others creativity. This project will help unite many young minds to forge a new era of Indaba or community togetherness regardless of their differences.

Second: This showcase was also designed as a fundraiser for the students who will receive the Career Advancement Scholarship Training (CAST) award for 2008. The money raised will go directly to the cost of the students airfare to visit New York and train with more urban dance legends for three weeks in July and August 2008.

Contact Information
DANCE FOR PEACE
345 W. 145th Street
New York, NY 10031
Apt 8B3

Kumari Singh
Ephrat Asherie

D4P_2007@hotmail.com

www.myspace.com/dance4peace






































 

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