MIDM project for learners living with disability

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Award winning choreographer, Oscar Buthelezi teaching a young boy some dance moves during the Schools Outreach. Picture: Courtesy of MIDM.
Award winning choreographer, Oscar Buthelezi teaching a young boy some dance moves during the Schools Outreach. Picture: Courtesy of MIDM.

The National Arts Council (NAC) and iconic dance company, Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM), will together launch a ground-breaking project – Enable Through Dance – to empower youth living with disability, with a passion or interest in dance, from disadvantaged areas in Johannesburg.

It will also be launching an open class on Saturday’s for youth living with disability aged sixteen to twenty who want to learn how to dance.

MIDM will be working with multi award-winning integrated dance/art educator and choreographer Gladys Agulhas, who is a qualified dance facilitator for this specific genre.

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Agulhas said the project intends to achieve an inclusive approach to dance.

“Enable Through Dance is about breaking down barriers. It recognises the lived-experience of disability, and seeks to restore confidence and self-esteem not as a medical model construct but as a social phenomenon, through artistic, literary, and other creative means” said Agulhas.

Agulhas is working with MIDM’s professional dancers and trainees to help them develop an understanding and methodology of inclusive dance teaching and choreography to become facilitators.

As part of the practical component, MIDM will be actively involved in working with youth living with disability under her strict guidance.

MIDM has identified four appropriate schools that are interested in participating in the project. This training will also be open to the public, by including the Saturday open class for young people living with disability. This dance class launches on October 8, from 10:30am to midday at MIDM’s Newtown studio, and will run until Saturday 26 November.

Registrations open at 9:30am and will cost R200 per participant for the programme (8 Oct to 26 Nov 2016). These classes will be facilitated by trained student teachers and will be overseen and managed by Ms Agulhas. All the participants will receive certificates at the end of the programme.

The Enable Through Dance initiative will conclude with a joint performance at the Joburg Theatre on Thursday, December 1 at 11am and 5pm where participants will share the stage with MIDM’s dancers to showcase the dance work created during the training period.

MIDM Artistic Director, Mark Hawkins, said Enable Through Dance has been in the works for months and rings true to the value of inclusiveness that MIDM was founded on.

“Inclusiveness is part of the MIDM ethos. We now want to embrace this fully by ensuring that youth living with a disability, and others, are granted access to opportunities to dance and perform,” he said.

“We also want to have creative, skilled and trained facilitators within communities and schools for youth living with a disability who understand how to facilitate an inclusive dance class.”

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