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Young dancers in Soweto spent the day learning from the international dance team of Burn the Floor, some doing ballroom for the first time.
ASPIRING dancers from Soweto learned some ballroom dance moves from Burn the Floor performers, at Bapedi Arts Centre in Meadowlands.

 

Soweto children Soweto children show they got talentThe performers visited the township on 23 July and spent time with 150 children between the ages of eight and 19. The visit was part of the community development work undertaken by the Joburg Theatre Complex in partnership with Mnet.
According to Claire Pacariz, the theatre’s marketing manager, visits like this are common with local productions. However, this was the first time with an international production, she says.

On the day, the young local dancers welcomed the team with a performance that completely bowled over the visitors. The children were then divided into age groups, and each group was allocated a dancing studio where they danced to ballroom dance music with the Burn the Floor crew.

The children then performed the moves they had learned on their own, while the professional team watched.

Karen Hauer, a Burn the Floor dancer from Venezuela, said she had had a wonderful time with the children. “I started dancing at a young age, so I feel connected with these kids. They are amazing. It’s good seeing them laughing and having the time of their lives,” she said.

Giving away goodie bagsGiving away goodie bagsHauer has been with Burn the Floor for two years; this is her first trip to South Africa. She said being in Soweto was an eye opener. “It makes me speechless to be here. I have heard a lot about Soweto,” she said.
The children were also delighted to meet the dancers. Eddiemilson Machibeni, an 18-year-old from Moletsane who aspires to be a professional dancer one day, said it meant a lot to him to have danced with the best international dancers.

Samantha Clouts, a 19-year-old hip-hop dancer from Eldorado Park, said it was the first time she had tried ballroom dancing. “I loved doing something different today – I have always danced hip-hop. It is such an experience to learn from other people from other parts of the world,” she said.

The day ended on a high note as the Burn the Floor team delivered an electrifying performance for the children. On top of the free performance, the children each received a goody bag.

Burn the Floor is showing at the Joburg Theatre Complex until 14 August. Tickets range from R195 to R365. For booking call 0861 670 670 or visit www.joburgtheatre.com.

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