By Edward Tsumele
He is definitely a leading dancer in the country, who not only amassed accolades fo himself locally and internationally over the years, but most importantly, he is sharing his skills and experiences as a top notch internationally reputed dancer with young people from the community where he grew up, doing this amazing work this in his backyard. He is encouraging young people to express themselves through the beautiful art of dance.
Paul Modjadji is ploughing back into the community in Hammanskraal, outside Pretoria, imparting dance lessons to the youth. He hails from there, a place that is on the periphery of big cities and does not normally enjoy the same privilege as big cities when it comes to cultural activity. But here comes Modjadji, willing to invest in the youth and make them dream big, to one day achieve the same feat he has achieved himself.
The story here is that after taking a hiatus for a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic Hammanskraal’s pre-eminent youth programme is back with more exciting classes for young people from the ages of 3 years to young adults. The programme offers classes in children’s ballet, music, dance and drama.
Founded in 2011 by internationally acclaimed award winning dancer choreographer, Modjadji, the Dare To Dream Arts programme was launched in Hammanskraal as a platform to offer arts education to the community as an after school and holiday programme.
“Realizing that none of the Hammanskraal schools offer arts education as an extra curriculum, there was a need to ensure that arts inclined youth from Hammanskraal had access to arts education and future opportunities that arts training opens to them” said founder, Modjadji.
The programme was initially launched with a focus on teenagers. Today the programme boasts children’s ballet classes, youth classes and in the process of launching seniors’ fitness classes for pensioners. The ballet classes that were launched in 2016, introduce students as young as 3 years old to the world of classical ballet, essentially providing Hammanskraal’ with its first and only ballet programme.
Following the success of Hammanskraal’s first big scale stage musical Rorisang and Julie in 2015, the programme’s 2021/22 student intake will rehearse a musical that will be filmed as Hammanskraal’s first film musical in 2022. Students who will be accepted into training as part of the programme will have an opportunity to star in a full-scale musical to be filmed right in their backyards.
“Dare to Dream is not just an educational programme but goes beyond through offering experiential training. When I performed the lead role in “Rorisang and Julie” it was my first time performing in a stage play of that magnitude.” says Dare To Dream Alumni, Tshepiso Moeketsi who has gone on to star as Nelson Mandela in the Australian musical Madiba: The Musical, and is currently working in Germany as a performing artist.
In its return the Dare To Dream programme has a stellar line up of teachers and guest facilitators who include former Tshwane University of Technology lecturer Lesego Baloyi, TV and stage actress Puleng Molebatsi, Dare To Dream Alum and renowned dancer Gomotsegang Maloka and Modjajdi, who will be working with the students.
The Dare TO Dream arts programme’s official return coincides with South Africa’s Youth month. The community initiative offers a variety of classes for free, every Saturday at PHL Moraka High School.
The Dare to Dream Programme is a flagship programme of the Leaders Who Dare To Dream Foundation, a Non-Profit organisation with deep roots in community and youth development work. The organisation has impacted over 10 000 young people through their various programmes in South Africa and the continent.