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Teaching tomorrow’s ballet stars in Gugulethu

The Move for Two dance school has classes three times a week in a classroom at Bonga Primary school in Gugulethu. The classes cater for children between 6 and 16.


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Twelve-year-old Lithemba Ngceshe wants to be a ballet dancer when she grows up. “I love dancing and it’s part of my talents,” says Lithemba, who has been dancing at the “Move for Two” dance school in Gugulethu for three years.

She is one of the children who come together in an empty classroom at Bonga Primary in Gugulethu, Cape Town, where Nastasha Coetsee and Jessica Bester have been teaching a mixture of contemporary and African dance to children since 2017.

Both danced at professional level and they wanted to share their passion with children who might not otherwise be able to afford classes.

ballet classes gugulethu

“We both know just how much dance has taught us and what a privilege it is to have had dance in our lives,” says Coetsee.

The classes cater for children between six and 16.

ballet classes gugulethu

The classroom at Bonga Primary in Gugulethu where Move for Two holds dance classes three times a week after school.

Coetsee says one of the challenges was building trust with the children and in the community as many organisations are known to “come and go” in the area. “It’s about consistency and proving our consistency to our kids.”

The dance school relies on donations through the Back a Dancer project. “We need someone’s heart moved, so that they can donate, so that our children can move”. This is how they came up with the name ‘Move for Two’.

A monthly R200 donation allows one child to attend at least one dance class a week. Covid-19 has disrupted routines, but the school hopes to host its annual dance showcase next year.

ballet classes gugulethu

Dance keeps children’s minds active and helps them learn discipline, says dance instructor Mesuli Nale. It also teaches them self-esteem “and how to build relationships among each other”.

ballet classes gugulethu

“Our aim is to raise little dancers who are talented and able to find a future in dance” and to “give these children a purpose, a safe space to express themselves and to be creative”, says Coetsee.

ballet classes gugulethu

This article was first published by GroundUp.


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