WATCH VIDEO: Scholars dance to beat of Phakama outreach project

A non-profit dance company is aiming high as it reaches out to schools in Durban South communities in the hopes of enriching young children by sharing the art of dance.
Yesterday (16 March), the Sun caught up with the three founders of Phakama Dance Theatre during their after-school outreach dance programme at Wentworth’s Gardenia Primary School.  The hall was packed with eager pupils who showed great interest in dancing. “It’s so exciting to see the enthusiasm of these children. This school holds a special place in my heart since this is where I attended, and to bring the arts to my old school is such a great honour,” said co-founder, Leagan Peffer.

The dance class learned that stretching is important.


The pupils are taught every Thursday from 1-3pm and are taught ballet and contemporary classes.

The after-school programme at Gardenia has only been operating for three weeks and already the dancers from Phakama have seen a great turnout and response from the young children. “It’s so great to give back and it feels so appropriate to impart our knowledge and skills in dance to these youngsters. We are already seeing some talent. Right now, I can see it’s making you smile just watching them – that’s what we want,” said director, Sandile Mkhize. Agreeing with his colleague, fellow director Nkanyiso Kunene added:
“There is so much love that we are receiving from the children and school.”
Having the arts brought to Wentworth gives the children something to look forward to, especially when the community is wracked with hardships. “We are hoping this initiative will grow. Dancing is expensive and it’s unfair that some children won’t experience it because their parents can’t afford it. This is why we started Phakama and this initiative, so we can give these children a platform to express themselves artistically,” added Peffer.

A lot of fun is had in the dance classes every Thursday.


The outreach programme posed its own challenges in the beginning but it is catching on at the schools. In addition to the programme, the Phakama Dance Theatre has been touring KZN with their anti-bullying play called ‘My body and I’. The dance team is also planning an Easter holiday programme.

A school in Umlazi as well as St Raphael’s in Yellowwood Park are all recipients of the outreach programme as well.


Watch the future dancers here:

To learn more about Phakama Dance Theatre like and follow them on Facebook

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Lauren Beukes

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