Swakopmund-A dream will come true for a group of eight young ballet students from the ‘Dance Factory Swakopmund’, who will travel to Europe next year to immerse themselves in the richness of the performing arts in some of the major cities. Donna Collins visited the Dance Factory in Swakopmund.
The girls between 11 to 16-years-old are currently dancing as hard as they can to raise funds for the upcoming cultural tour, and held their first fund raising show in Swakopmund last weekend.
Dressed in lace tutus, leotards and tights the girls performed a short routine to showcase their talents. They delighted a large crowd of onlookers who gathered at the Platz Am Meer, and they showed their appreciation when the hat was passed around.
To their delight, they raised nearly N$5,000, which will go towards some of the travelling expenses.
This first European tour is the initiative of Dance Factory owner and instructor, Carmen Waldeck, who wants to expose young Namibian dancers to the art scene overseas by introducing them to the true origins of ballet and dance culture.
They will travel to Germany, France, Belgium and Holland for two weeks in April. During this time, they will visit various dance schools, professional academies, workshops and classes as well as attending ballet shows, operas and other cultural activities
Carmen has organised her own tailor made programme to pack in a variety of highlights into the two-week trip.
“There are so many young people participating in sports codes, which offer overseas tours and competitions but seldom are local dancers offered an opportunity to travel and expand their horizons,” Waldeck adds, saying they will also take in some sightseeing as well as visit art galleries.
She studied dance education in Holland and specialises in classical ballet and jazz dance. She opened up the Dance Factory Swakopmund in 2010, and has lived in Europe for ten years.
She says she knows her way around the art and dance scene in Europe – an experience she is keen to share with her young Namibian students.
One of her girls joining the group, lives in the DRC informal settlement, but a German sponsor will sponsor her trip, which will be a life changing experience for her, as well as many of the other girls in the group who have
never travelled outside of Namibia.
“I wanted these girls to work towards something, and to be motivated to one day even follow a career in dance,” Waldeck adds.
“We need to show our young Namibians what is out there in the world of arts, and inspire them for the future, but it is going to take hard work and a lot of fund raising to make it happen.”
Waldeck is also preparing for her annual December dance week workshop and show, when she invites teachers from all over Europe, plus students from all over Namibia to take part in the weeklong celebration of dance.
Carmen’s Dance Factory offers various styles of dance including hip-hop routines and even pole dancing classes.
She kept her students busy throughout the year practising for such shows, which includes the not to be missed Carnival of Flames extravaganza at the end of the year, put on by the incredible Evolve Fire Production performers.