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Fiona and Dancescape South Africa make the Dancing Times. Click here to view the article.





Dancescape South Africa Business Plan for NGO Funding.

Name of Project:

The name of our project is Dancescape SA Year (REF: 168-724 NP) Public Benefit Organization No. 930055804

Briefly description of the project:

DSA provides dance classes to historically disadvantaged rural children in our townships. We offer dance classes in ballet, contemporary and even traditional styles of dance. We provide a platform for young talented dancers to explore their choreographic skills and to perform their works alongside choreographers from all over the world. We have resident teachers teaching every afternoon of the week during school term times and also facilitate workshops in most of the school holidays. DSA invites guest teachers to teach and choreograph. We provide opportunities for those who have excelled to further their training at institutions such as The Cape Academy of Performing Arts. Our kids have also been given opportunities to attend winter and summer schools both here in South Africa and abroad. We also train aspiring teachers in our teacher training program and have provided stipends for their time and efforts. We employ a Public Relations Officer to build bridges with the communities in which we work and develop relationships with the parents of our students. All this is done under the watchful eye of our DSA Director.

Where is the project taking place?

DSA currently works in the Zolani Township in Ashton. We have also collaborated with the Rural Arts Development foundation (RAD) to teach in the Ashbury Township in Montagu. We hope to include Townships in Robertson in the future.

Who is the target group?

DSA’s target group is primarily the youth in historically disadvantaged communities. Our student range from at young as 4 years old to those who are 19/20 years old.

What are our objectives/ goals?

The primary objective is to provide an opportunity for the youth in these traditionally disadvantaged communities to participate in our dance program and in doing so to get them off the streets and away from destructive elements such as gangsterism, violence and drugs. We strive to provide these children with something which is good for mind and body. Once in the studio they are then trained to dance and therefore they are developing new skills. The training not only develops a skill to dance but stimulates discipline, focus, confidence and creativity to mention just a few benefits. Benefits which ultimately help the learners during their schooling at both primary and high school levels and then into their adult lives. We encourage our students to take their academic schooling seriously and to at least pursue their Matric certificate. For those students who excel we present them with a prospect of choosing a career in the performing arts. Through hard work and dedication they can change their lives by becoming professional dancers. However not every child is destined to be professional dancer but the project can transform the lives of all the participants through its benefits mentioned previously. Furthermore DSA is training young teachers who can put what they have learnt back into the community by teaching and training others. Talented young choreographers are given the platform to showcase their work and build experience. In short our objectives are to: • Get the youth of the streets away from destructive elements • Develop a new skill • Stimulate discipline, focus, confidence, creativity and many more benefits which would ultimately help the learner with academics and then into adult life • Provide opportunity to those who excel to get further training and the prospect of making a career in the performing arts. • Develop skills to teach dance and give back to the community • Provide young choreographers the platform to showcase and develop their work. Our goal is to uplift people through dance. We have already seen how many of our students have gone on to become professional dancers and how that has made an impact on their local community. Two brothers who began their training with DSA are now working in London and Toronto. They came from poverty and have now uplifted there family home in the Zolani township.

Which other stakeholders/ and partners will participate in the project?

We do not have any other stakeholders and partners as such who will participate in the project. Who will benefit from the project and what are the benefits The benefits are primarily for the youth of our townships. They can attend classes every afternoon of the week and are given something constructive to do with their afternoons. Our trainee teachers are given a stipend as they are used to impart their knowledge to the students and are required to assist the resident teachers with classes and rehearsals. Therefore the trainee teachers will not only benefit financially but also gain valuable experience in their teaching. The parent of these trainee teachers will also benefit as money is coming into the household and assisting with food and general expenses. We currently have 2 students who are attending further dance training as full time students at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts. We provide them with living, transport and accommodation expenses therefore making it possible for them to study in Cape Town. We also have to cover some of their course fees. Therefore our project benefits these student and we will have more to follow in years to come. We employ 2 resident teachers. We employ 1 public relations officer and a director. We pay for persons in the community to assist with transporting the students to performances and outings. We pay for persons to assist in the making of costumes. We provide our students with a sandwich every day of class and rehearsal. Our students are given opportunities to perform at various venues throughout the year. They benefit from the experience and also receive food and treats. As winners of the Winelands Mayoral Tourism award for best special project (2018) we are working with the Montagu-Ashton tourism board as a tourist destination. Tourists are encouraged to visit our project and planed tours are available. The local community can benefit from this and so do the tourists In short, who will benefit from the project? • The youth of our rural underprivileged townships as they are given something constructive which is good for mind and body to do in their afternoons • Trainee teachers through stipends, training and experience • Parents as money paid in the form of stipends to the trainee teachers is coming into the households • Currently 2 students received partial scholarships at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts and we provide living, travel and accommodation costs. More are to follow • We employ a public relations officer • We employ 2 resident teachers • We employ the services of a director, both artistic and administrative • We employ local transport businesses to assist with transport • We employ persons to assist with costumes • We provide our students with a sandwich every day that they attend classes and rehearsals • The community is promoted as a tourist destination. Planned tours are available from which the local community can benefit and so do the tourists

What are the timeframes for the project?

It must be stated that this is an ongoing project. DSA strives to keep this project going for the longest time. For the benefit of this proposal we will present this as a yearly project which follows our financial year beginning on the 1st of March 2019 and end at the end of February 2020. We have committed ourselves to teaching dance every afternoon of the week during school term times. We also offer holiday workshops during some of the school holidays. Our year ahead has some milestones such as: • The Kristine Elliot workshop held over several weeks in March 2019 • The Kultuur Kus performance held on Youth day in June of 2019 • The Montagu Youth Arts Festival held in August of 2019 • We hope to perform in the Baxter Dance Festival held in September/ October 2019 • The Montagu Makiti held in September of 2019 • Our end of year DSA showcase to be held in December 2019 What is the project action plan, main project objectives? We continue to teach every afternoon of the week from 2 to 6pm at the Zolani Hope Centre where we have put down a proper sprung floor. Not only do we facilitate classes and rehearsals in Zolani but also 1 afternoon per week in the Ashbury civic centre. Dancers are not made overnight. They require years of consistent training. The objective is to build a foundation of proper dance technique. We encourage the students to be committed and consistent to achieve these objectives. As stated previously, the project has many performances to work towards. Our objective is for the students to be the best dancers and performers that they can be for each one of these performances. Every day the students are given a class to build their technique. This would usually be followed by a rehearsal in preparation for upcoming performances. Also time is allocated to allowing the student choreographers time to develop their own works. Music and costumes need to be organized as we work towards each performance and then transport and food is organized on the day of the show. We perform at the Civic Centres in Bonnievale, Ashton and Montagu. Some of the students begin to excel and our objective is to introduce the performing arts as a career path to these dancers. Once we have established a commitment and dedication to seeking this career path we make it possible for these individuals to attend auditions to continue their training at higher learning institutions. In short: • Through providing consistent dance classes and with a commitment from our students the objective is to build a foundation of proper dance technique • Furthermore our objective is for the students to be the best dancers and performers that they can be for each of the performances held throughout the year. • We then identify individuals who are committed and dedicated to making dance a career path and the objective is to provide the necessary help in attending auditions to continue further training. • Finally once our students are given adequate scholarships we, if funding allows, have an objective to support these students with living, transport and accommodation expenses.

Which organizations do you envisage to collaborate with?

We work with: • The Rural Arts Development Foundation • The Langeberg Municipality • The Montagu-Ashton Tourism board • The Zolani Hope Centre • The Zolani Care Trust • The Cape Academy of Performing Arts • The Gugulethu Ballet Project Are any training Interventions planned? • DSA facilitates workshops for our trainee teachers • The George Winter school • Although not planned yet we usually are able to send a student to the San Francisco Ballet Summer School in the USA.

How many persons are envisaged to be trained during this project?

We currently have 60 students ranging from 4 to 19 year old and anticipate many more to join the project in the 2019. We have seen a dramatic increase in student under 10 years old joining the project. How many participants will be female and how many male? We have found the ratio to be about 60% female and 40% male.

An insight into Dancescape South Africa’s target area.

Zolani Township in Ashton, Western Cape is a rural area marked by poverty and inequality, ten years ago arriving in Montagu Pastor Fanie Tshoto invited Fiona Sargeant to start dance classes in a derelict church building (the Apostolic Faith Mission Church). Their intention was to give children a healthy physical activity that would keep them off the streets give them a positive outlook in their lives and improve the way they interact with each other. Of the approximate 6 500 people in this township 80% live below the poverty data line.

There is only work in the fruit picking season when the lucky ones get a chance to work for 3 months in a local canning factory. For the rest of the year there is no work. ‘Mamazolani’ In these farming communities only some basic needs can be met. The home social and school environments leave the children to fend for themselves and their younger siblings a school meal and a sandwich after dance class are provided and may be the only food they have. The dance classes are held in the ‘location’ to enable children to walk to classes, there is no family transport or money for buses. Beyond trying to survive neither the parents, school nor the children have had opportunities to enjoy any creative experience beyond the basic needs. For example only a few parents manage to attend performances not only through lack of transport but also because they themselves have not had exposure to the arts which leaves a lack of understanding as to the benefits of the extra mural activities. Initially the children join the class out of curiosity or to escape their difficult circumstances. To transform these children and future generations, both a sustained and continuous time period of daily classes and role models are required. Beginner Senior and Advanced one hour dance sessions are designed to improve the focus of the children many of whom have difficulty in concentrating. Workshops/classes allow children to develop their own choreographies within each dance session. Senior dancers are taught to share their knowledge with younger groups; this experience gives them confidence to teach. Not only is this the next program outcome, it is also their motivation to earn a small stipend. May Bingham will be starting a reading and homework help session (January 2017) whilst different groups are waiting for their dance class to facilitate improvement in the children’s academics.

The biggest problem facing our townships is HIV, teenage pregnancy, alcoholism and aggression. Due to most of the children having no home role models activities that promote discipline and hope for a different future are essential. As commitment to the classes improve aggression decreases, cooperation increases, thus team work and social skills improve. Further, through their obvious enjoyment, their higher levels of need are being satisfied. The impact of this program is far reaching. Primarily, it keeps the children away from the streets away from drugs and gangster groups both so prevalent in these areas. Their natural enjoyment of music, movement and the opportunity to perform away from the township inspires and develops them to live beyond their basic needs and gives them hope for a better future.

In conclusion:

Dancescape South Africa has clearly made an impact on the local communities of Montagu and Zolani. Through our consistent training our dancers have delivered spectacular results. Two young men will be trained in 2019 at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts having received partial scholarships. We will support them and make it possible to study further. More are going to follow in years to come. At the recent Montagu Youth Arts Festival 2018 DSA entered 9 entries. All 9 entries received Double Gold certificates. We won several other awards including best dance entry for 2018. This year DSA also received the Mayoral Tourism Award for Best Special Project in the Winelands district. We are working together with the Montagu-Ashton Tourism board to make our Zolani studio a tourist destination. All of this would not be possible without a dedicated staff of teachers, public relations and a director. Furthermore this project would not be possible without adequate funding. Our wish is that we can continue our work in the townships providing hope for our students and changing their lives for a better future. We know that there is a lot of talent in this country just waiting to be nurtured and developed. Thank you Mitya Sargeant (CEO and Director Dancescape South Africa)

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