Local non-profit sponsors 11 Kenyan students to perform in UofSC dance show

Photo provided by Artist For Africa.

There were 11 international students who just traveled across the world for the love of dance. They arrived in Columbia last week for the University of South Carolina’s summer Ballet and Contemporary Dance Intensives.

Artists For Africa, a local non-profit organization, has been sponsoring gifted dancers from Kenya with impoverished backgrounds to improve their dancing techniques, and their lives, for the past seven years.

Columbia native Cooper Rust founded the organization in 2010. After volunteering as a dance instructor for Anno’s Africa in the Kibera slum, she relocated to Nairobi to continue her work with the children of Kenya.  All proceeds from Artists For Africa’s Post Card Art fundraiser go directly to support free arts education programs for orphaned and impoverished children in Kenya. Artists for Africa offers dance, music, creative writing, theater, and gymnastics programs to children living in the most destitute circumstances in the slums of Kenya.

In 2016, the non-profit opened The A4A House in Nairobi to provide safe, supervised housing, nutritious meals, academic support, clothing, school tuition and assistance to scholarship students pursuing more intensive training in the arts.

The students who participate in UofSC’s dance intensives will perform their final show Wednesday, July 31, at the Central Energy Facility in the Bull Street District. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour, followed by the performance. Tickets are $40 per person, and can be purchased at A4AUSA.org.

About the UofSC Ballet and Contemporary Intensives:
The intensives last from July 7 to 26. Dancers ages 11 and up participate in a variety of classes to help improve their dancing skills including ballet, pointe, variations, character, contemporary and more. This is the 32nd year the university has offered the classes.

Additional information about Artists for Africa can be found at www.artistsforafricausa.org.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Richland County

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