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Dance International
Written by: Alison
04/09/2007

Dance for All (DFA) was founded by Philip Boyd in 1991 as Ballet for All. This was to build on the legacy of Cape Town ballet chief David Poole, who started teaching ballet in the townships of Cape Town in the mid-80's. Boyd, a former principal dance for CAPAB (now Cape Town City Ballet), also recognised that prior to 1994 CAPAB only had one African dancer. There had been no active recruitment of black dancers and there was no programme to extend the ballet experience to indigenous African children and youth.

Ballet for All began its life in a classroom at the Sivuyile Technical College in Gugulethu, with 34 children participating. These numbers quickly multiplied and with the recruitment of more dance teachers, Boyd expanded the programme to include a diverse range of dance forms - and in 1995, Ballet for All became Dance for All.

DFA was honoured when Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu became Patron at the beginning of 2003. In May 2007, Archbishop Tutu rose to Honorary Life Patron and DFA was proud to welcome Dr Mamphela Ramphele and Mr John Persenda as Patrons.

Today DFA runs an Out Reach Program of daily dance classes in ballet, African, contemporary, musical theatre and Spanish dance for approximately 1000 children and youth in the underprivileged areas of Ggulethu, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Atlone, Strand and the rural areas of Barrydale and Montagu. More than just teaching dance, these classes help the children develop beyond a physical level by encouraging creativity and self-discipline and increased self-esteem and confidence.

As well as providing a positive extra-mural activity for children and youth, DFA has become a highly regarded school of dance, successfully training a new generation of professional South African dancers. DFA has been able to achieve this through the introduction of its Junior and Senior Training Programs, where the students receive first-class training from prima Ballerina Assoluta Phyllis Spira supported by a talented teaching team that includes Margie Sim, Hope Nongqongqo, Patrick Daza, Pauline van Buitenen, Lorraine Ndindwa, Nobuntu Nqolase, Asanda Mabayi, Fiona Sargeant and Marjaan van Tonder. The Training Programmes provide 50 especially talented students with intensive dance training to prepare them for careers in the performing arts. Students on the Senior Training Programme receive a scholarship administered by DFA that pays for their school fees, textbooks, transport, dance training and togs.

Fourteen 'graduates' of the DFA programme are now working professionally in the performing arts industries in South Africa and abroad.

In 2005, DFA formed its own Dance for All Youth Company (DFAYC), which was launched officially in November of the same year as the Artscape Theatre. The Youth Company is funded by the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund. The DFAYC has a uniquie signature style presenting a dynamic neo-classical/ afro-contemporary repertoire, which includes some of their own works as well as diverse pieces by established local and international choreographers. Five of the current eight members were trained through the DFA programme.

Alison Foat - DIVA Pr
Cape Town, South Africa
0027 (0) 21 462 7384 (T)
0027 (0) 83 635 6312 (M)

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