A NUMBER of Port Elizabeth’s top hip-hop dance crews paid Helenvale children a special visit yesterday, teaching them the art of dancing and how it could bring peace to the gang-ridden suburb.
Award-winning dance crews Déjavu, Recruited, Vandelydez and Divine, among others, said they were all shaken by the past weekend’s gang shootings in Helenvale in which an innocent man was killed and three others injured.
Déjavu’s Meryl Stanley, 23, said: “We are here to encourage the children in Helenvale through our dancing and put some smiles on their faces. It cannot be easy to grow up in an area where gangsters walk free and you don’t know when you or someone you love, will get hurt. [Yesterday’s] session is to take their minds off the negative things for a moment, but we intend coming back here to make it a regular thing.”
The members of the different dance crews, all having received their provincial dance colours, are preparing to take part in a national dance competition in Cape Town at the end of the month.
Godfrey Stanley, Dejavu’s manager, encouraged the children to get involved with dancing.
He brought Vandelydez’s youngest dancer, five-year-old Mason Booysen, on stage to really inspire them.
“One is never too young to start dancing. These guys doing all the cool moves come from the northern areas just like you guys,” Stanley said. “Some of them are from Schauderville, others from Arcadia and Gelvandale, but living in these areas doesn’t stop them from making good choices. I’ve never seen a child hearing music who is unhappy. So if you want to be happy, dance for peace with us.”
The dance crews intend to host regular dance and arts workshops at the Helenvale Resource Centre.
“Kids need things to keep them motivated and off the streets,” Stanley said. – Alvené du Plessis