UK donates dance wear to Africa and Guatemala

Published: 5 March 2021
Reporter: Vera Liber

Leap of Dance Academy students in Nigeria Credit: Elmhurst Academy
Transformación Ballet students in Guatemala Credit: Elmhurst Academy

Elmhurst Ballet School and its uniform supplier Dancing Boutique are sending more than 200 items of dancewear to The Leap of Dance Academy in Nigeria, Africa, and Transformación Ballet in Sololá, Guatemala.

140 boys’ and girls’ leotards, more than 70 pairs of satin, leather and canvas ballet shoes and 18 pairs of pointe shoes, with a total retail value of £8,000, will be sent to the two schools. Elmhurst will arrange delivery and cover all shipping costs.

Leap of Dance Academy’s profile became famous last summer when its founder, Creative Director and self-taught ballet teacher Daniel Owoseni shared a video on of 11-year old student Anthony dancing barefoot in the rain outside his Lagos home, which went viral.

Founded by Christine Tjahjadi-Lopez, Transformación Ballet teaches a range of dance styles including ballet to children of all socio-economic backgrounds, including two orphanages on Lake Atitlán, Sololá.

Jessica Ward, Principal of Elmhurst, said, “at Elmhurst, we are committed to the belief that talent is classless and access shouldn’t be about parental income or because you are white and have done ballet since the age of two. It should be about anyone who has a passion and interest being able to seek out and participate in the art form. The amazing work of Leap of Dance Academy and Transformación Ballet proves that ballet can help a young person surpass their potential.”

Tjahjadi-Lopez added, “when I asked the children what their favourite part of 2020 was, so many of them said that it was dancing and learning from people from all around the world. One mother said that in a very difficult time, Transformación Ballet was able to fill her house with music and dance. It is incredible how this dance programme has been able to open the world-view of our students, who come from the rural highlands of Guatemala. This wouldn't have been possible without all of our amazing volunteers, monthly donors, and now this generous gift from Dancing Boutique and Elmhurst Ballet School. I am very grateful."