Last year, Soul of Africa (SOA) established a partnership with DESTINO Dance Company, a contemporary dance group based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to support young underprivileged people with projects using dance and movement.
From July to October 2015, SOA supported a three-month movement training course for 17 young people with physical disabilities. The course aimed at building confidence, physical fitness, creativity, performance skills and practicing teamwork. The classes were led by DESTINO founders Addisu Demissie and Junaid Jemal Sendi and ended with a spectacular performance, attracting over 400 people over two nights.
Most of the participants had never experienced dance and performance before and perceived it as something impossible; yet, when given a chance, a disabled body is just like any other body: it moves, connects with others, and expresses feelings and emotions in a unique and beautiful way.
DESTINO aims to create an exciting, inspiring and well-disciplined environment. Since its launch in 2014, the company has created opportunities for many disadvantaged groups in Ethiopia to grow both physically and mentally through dance: young offenders, orphans and street children are some of the groups the company has worked with. Through this technique, participants discover the unity which can be developed within a group; everyone learns how to work with one another’s abilities and limitations, to support each other, to trust one another and oneself.
DESTINO also organizes events and festivals, and performs both nationally and abroad, therefore developing Ethiopian-contemporary dance as a unique art form. Its long-term goal is to set up a comprehensive three-year dance training programme for underprivileged young people. SOA is a strong supporter of this dream and is finding ways to help carry out this is important mission.
We are excited to provide you with some pictures of the performance, which was showcased at the Mega Amphitheatre in Addis Ababa in October 2015, staging over 50 young people DESTINO worked with that year.