Amoyo moving and shaking it

Amoyo showing the crowd their hip hop dance skills.

There were some toe-tapping and hip hop happening moves when the Amoyo dance group held their mid-year event to display the progress of the youth in the programme.

The event featured many styles of dance, from African contemporary to ballet to hip hop. There was also djembe drumming by their dance teacher Mandisa Qwesha to drama skits.

Amoyo Performing Arts Foundation Hout Bay was founded by Ms Qwesha, Kim Worrall and Nandipha Sandlana in 2015. The NPO focuses on children between the ages of five and 19 in Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg commu- nities.

This was the first display for Amoyo in which the talented youngsters could show the public their work and progress they have made. “It is an opportunity for family, friends and the people from the Hout Bay community to come and see who we are, what we are and why we are. Amoyo exists because we care about the children of South Africa. We want to help children to make really good life choices,” said Ms Worrall.

“Amoyo means spirit of appreciation. The more someone appreciates what you do for them, the more you want to do things for them,” said Ms Worrall. “These children are taking a stand for themselves and taking responsibility. These are children who are starting to create dreams for themselves”.

The youngsters are taught by acclaimed actors and dance instructors. “We are under-resourced but over resourced in talent,” said Ms Worrall.

Amoyo offers 28 classes a week. The dance lessons include ballet, African, contemporary and Spanish styles. There are classes in effective communication, music and rhythm as well as speech and drama.

The group is finally getting the recognition they deserve and recently performed at the World Refugee Day event in Hout Bay on Saturday June 18 (See page 10).

They also have a bursary programme worth R500 000.

Amoyo graduate Siphelele Mblashwa is now an ambassador for the group. She is currently studying event management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). She has selflessly agreed to volunteer at the Amoyo office, to help give back to the community and in doing so, showing her gratitude for what Amoyo has done for her. Through her time at Amoyo, she received support and mentoring from the teachers who played an integral role in helping her study for matric. “Last year I was very stressed during my matric finals. At Amoyo, I had the opportunity to have one-on-one sessions with Kim and through her, I was able to pass my matric. At Amoyo, we are so lucky to have such wonderful teachers. They taught us how to dance at a really young age and they taught us how to respect one another. I am so happy and so glad to be representing Amoyo,” said Siphelele.

Dancers who have been promoted to Amoyo Core were also annouced at the event. These are the top dancers who will be performing for corporate and public events as well as tourist bookings. “Many of these girls started dancing at the beginning of the year and through their talent and hard work have been promoted to Amoyo Core. We are so proud of them,” said Ms Worrall.

Amoyo is currently in the process of conducting a holiday workshop. The theme of the workshop is centred around winter and includes rhythm and movement, theatre art and acting with puppets. The workshop is aimed at strengthening all the elements needed in dance and drama, which was covered during the term. Elements such as vocal projection, clarity of speech, creative choreography, imagination and movement, sound and rhythm as well as characterisation will be focused on during the workshop. “It’s been such an exploratory and fun week,” said Ms Worrall.

Find the group on Facebook page Amoyo Performing Arts Foundation Hout Bay