Our major project in Kenya was with a group of dancers with a range of backgrounds and abilities. Two of our participants were physically disabled, mostly working out of their wheelchair. They both professionally collaborated within the group, during the project and inspired us to explore new ways of moving through the space.
All the Dancers came together through the work of Ondiege Mathew who is the Director of Dance into Space, his own professional Dance Company for disabled and Non-disabled dancers. This is run at the Go Down Arts Center in Nairobi.
This creative process project covered, Vinyasa Yoga, Release technique, Contact Improvisation, introduction to Laban Movement Analysis and creative devising. During this project we discovered how important this type of training was for these young dancers and how limited their resources are for learning dance theory, creative exploration and different techniques. We had an exceptional time with them due to their hard working attitude and dedication to the learning process. One of the participants Prince who is an experienced dancer shared with us feedback that ‘yoga had helped him to connect to his body in a completely new way.’ Brian a younger talented dancer said that the Laban Movement Analysis helped him to see choreography with endless possibilities and made him realize he had been limiting himself when creating movement. We also received many comments of thanks and appreciation which was very heartwarming for us both.
Overall Kasia and I have been blown away by the dedication and eagerness to learn from these very talented young dancers. Their ability and potential as contemporary dancers is exceptional and we are in awe that their learning has been sufficiently limited by occasional classes, youtube and each other; however we worry that their dance futures will struggle with lack of opportunities for training and developing their skills. Our endeavor is to spread not only the word of their talent but also the desperate need for more training opportunities that will help to sustain their unique passion for dance.