WINDHOEK, Feb. 22 — The sun was at its peak, and its light brightened the indoor space of a corrugated iron structure in Havana informal settlement on the outskirts of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.
A group of youngsters poured their feelings into rhythmic feet, stomping to the sound of music at the instruction of a dance teacher at West Dance Center in Havana. For 14-year-old Mary, joining the dance center was not only for fun but an escape from the challenges of limited children-friendly spaces in the community. “My goal is to master the steps so that I become a great performer,” she said.
West Uarije, a professional dancer, is using his professional performance skills to help youngsters in the area dance to a better future. Uairje opened the center in 2018 after noticing a need for more conducive activities for children in the area, especially to indulge after school and during the holidays.
The center offers dance and art, teaching children techniques such as steps, rhythm, timing, and punctuality, among other elements. Uairije relies on formal qualifications obtained from various institutions and his years of experience to make a difference in the lives of the youngsters in the community. He believes that through dance and art, children can develop not only their creative abilities but also improve their confidence, discipline, and teamwork skills.
Since its opening, the West Dance Center has become a beloved institution in the community, attracting many young people who are eager to learn and hone their skills. The center has also provided a safe and positive space for the youngsters to interact and connect with each other, fostering a sense of community spirit and belonging.
Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Uarije has continued to run the center, adapting his teaching methods to ensure the safety of his students while still providing a high-quality learning experience. He hopes to expand the center’s offerings in the future, providing more opportunities for young people to explore their artistic talents and develop their potential.
For Mary and the other young dancers at the West Dance Center, the future looks bright. Through their passion for dance and their dedication to their craft, they are charting a course toward a better future, one step at a time. (Xinhua)