It’s not about the dance

27 11 2011

It was all too much for one youngster. He came off the stage and burst into tears just in front of where I was sitting. For 5 minutes or so he’d been the star of the show and had danced his heart out. The crowd had cheered, shouted and clapped but now he was back to reality for another year. He was one of the lucky ones who could actually dance. A lot of the other kids were so badly handicapped that they could not do much more than sit in their wheelchairs and move their heads to the music. But as I said to Gail at the end of the show it was not really about the dance – it was about giving some self esteem.

The Dance Trust of Zimbabwe, of which I am a trustee, runs an outreach programme where a small group of dedicated dance instructors go out to special schools, orphanages and the like and teach dance to the children. On Saturday I attended the annual dance festival put on by the outreach programme. It was not how I would normally have chosen to spend a Saturday morning but I had to admit it was worthwhile to see the excitement and happiness on the children’s faces as they became the centre of attention for a few minutes. Quite what happens to them once they outgrow their protected environment I don’t want to think about.