City Vision

Academy needs help

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Some members of Rise and Shine Academy performing in one of the events that was held at Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum in Lwandle.
Some members of Rise and Shine Academy performing in one of the events that was held at Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum in Lwandle.

A local dance group Rise and Shine Academy is appealing to local business people to inject funds into their campaign in order for their dancers to buy costumes.

The group was established in 2009 to take children off the streets. It equips children with various dance skills including Latin and ballroom. The group performs at weddings, traditional ceremonies, church events among others. It has heavily relied on founder, Vuyiseka Bobotyana, for funding and sustainability.

The group is now facing a monumental task as Bobotyana can no longer afford the funds.

In an interview with City Vision, Bobotyana described the academy as a stepping stone for young children to showcase their talents. She stated that she previously took money out of her pocket to sustain the group.

“It is not an easy thing to run an academy. But I do it out of love. I was a dancer during my heydays. I started dancing in 2001 till 2007. I was a member of Rise and Shine Dance Group in Queenstown (Eastern Cape),” she said.

In 2008, she moved to the Western Cape where she joined Siluncedo, a dance group based in Lwandle. Bobotyana said she started the academy with only six people but the numbers gradually grew to 26.

“I’m working with girls only between the ages of nine and 17 years old. Initially, I had boys but some of them dropped out, others left because of being ill-disciplined,” she explained. “Majority of the boys have that stereotypical mentality of not wanting to be told by a woman. I found that most of the time we clashed a lot because they didn’t want to follow the roles,” she explained.

Bobotyana added that some boys refused to join dance groups because of the stigma associated with male dancers. “There is this perception in our communities that everyone who is a male dancer is gay. We need to break that chain and make people understand that being a dancer is not about sexual orientation,” she stated.

Among others, Bobotyana said they focus on Ballroom, Latin and modern dances. They infuse them with the loxion style.

Besides the lack of costumes, she raised concerns about some negative influence from some of the parents.

“Some parents, when they punish their children, they prevent them from coming to practice. Parents punish them with what they like the most. And also, during winter rains the number of children dwindles a bit,” she said.

Bobotyana said membership is free and everyone is welcomed. “We practise only on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Art Centre in the area from 16:00 till 17: 30,” she said.

To assist contact the founder of Rise and Shine Academy Vuyiseka Bobotyana on 060 806 1559.

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