6 years and running I am still amazed at what we Ugandans perceive ballet to be.
Many parents, youth will tell you, any dance done to slow music, ‘church worship’ or male and female partnering is ballet. I used to be so apprehensive and defensive when I heard all these comments and perceptions. Since we started Autumn Studios 5 years ago, we took on the task to make a clear distinction of different dance genres from aboard. And that task has not been easy. One may ask have we been successful? I would say, the journey just started.
At autumn Studios, our focus for the last 5 years has been ballet and contemporary dance. We have for most of these years spent it teaching children in primary schools, and churches and we know our work just got started.
My mentors and dance instructors, Prof. Jill Prible and Kristina Johnstone trained us in the RAD system. The RAD system is a UK based Ballet curriculum. Nonetheless we have never been examined in it and we turned out to be exceptional recreational dancers as most Ugandans and as the culture dispels. With this knowledge Autumn Studios was birthed and we can say the rest is history.
5 years later, we have been able to find a more suitable curriculum for our children here in Uganda. The Living Dance curriculum is wholesome and will help advance our goals to raise rounded children; creative innovative and dynamic in their thinking.
This curriculum that we have adopted will be our basis for training teachers and children. It will allow for teachers to be thoroughly trained and monitored and later be certified internationally if they choose that career path.
But a parent may ask, “How is this going to help my child?” My simple answer to this question will be, we are providing quality best suited learning with experienced trained teachers who will know how to handle and progress the children using dance art.
We are here to raise parents’ expectations and aspirations for their children! Not only will your child wear a tutu and at some point perform on a stage, they will have skill they can transfer elsewhere in the world. They will not just be qualified; they will also be competitive globally. In their time when asked which Dance school they trained at, they will be proud to note Autumn Studios or Autumn Academy of Dance and make reference to the renowned curriculum they were accessed in familiar to many youth, of their time.
A few of us got the privileged to attend the only Ballet School in Kampala at the time now known as the Kampala Dance Studio and it goes a long way when we meet dancers from elsewhere in the world to say we went to dance school. It sounds better than to say we love to dance, we are African, we have got rhythm…Any Ugandan knows how this story goes.
We invite you to join us on this our new journey as we adopt the Living Dance International Curriculum for more information check their website out at www.livingdanceinternational.com