Creatives from Poland, the UK and South Africa are gathering at St Thomas Secondary School in Gelvan Park this week for a cross-cultural dance and photography outreach.
Led by former Bay dancer Dane Hurst, an internationally acclaimed artist now based in London, the Moving Assembly Project (Map) has pulled together professionals across several disciplines to uplift and transform the lives of at-risk youth.
“We are offering free dance and photography workshops at St Thomas and creating a new dance work for the Grahamstown Festival entitled Who Are You,” Hurst, who started Map last year, said. Hurst also is a former pupil at the Gelvan Park high school.
This week, St Thomas pupils are workshopping the Fringe production with Hurst and the Map team, looking at themes of identity, belonging and independence.
Next week, Map is opening the dance workshops to the public, before taking Who Are You to Grahamstown. for its premiere.
In this way, Map helps not only develop teaching and performance programmes, but also gives “disadvantaged youth vital access to inspiring professional artists, and an opportunity … to learn a skill and discover a talent …” Hurst said. It also gives the youngsters a platform to share this with others.
Bay photographer Karl Schoemaker is also part of the project and presented a photography workshop on Monday to a keen young audience.
“The intention is that we will do this every year,” Schoemaker said. He handed out disposable cameras to the pupils at the workshop, asking them to go out and shoot images in their community.
Today he will give them feedback on their photos, and hopes to exhibit them these photographs in London later this year.
Dancers contributing to Map include Port Elizabeth’s Aarti Narotam, Sachin “Syc” Chad and Levern Botha; Tshediso Kabulu from Bloemfontein, Poland’s Anna Nowak and Britain’s Siân. Jean du Toit, a Port Elizabeth-based director and editor, brings a filmmaker’s eye to the process too. along with Schoemaker.
Last year, Map worked with 80 students from the Ubuntu Education Fund in Zwide as well as the Amaphiko Township Dance Project, “and this year we will be opening our project up to the wider community to have as wide a reach as possible”, Hurst said.
After the production at the NAF, “we will then travel to Durban to work with LIV Village orphanage and the Ithuba Wild Coast Community.”
- More information on the workshops from www.movingassemblyproject.org
- Who Are You will be staged at Centenary Hall in Grahamstown from June 29 to July 1. Booking, and more information, at the NAF website, www.nationalartsfestival.co.za