Amoyo spreading wings, changing lives

Amoyo graduate Dineo Rawu with the non-profit organisation’s CEO, Kim Conley.

The Amoyo Performing Arts Foundation plans to create new opportunities for up-and-coming dancers this year, says its CEO Kim Conley.

The non-profit organisation has been holding registrations in Imizamo Yethu and has found a new venue, at Hout Bay Primary School, for its after-school dance programmes.

Last year, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Company formally endorsed Amoyo as an exemplary after-school outreach programme.

“Year on year has seen a bigger buzz at the start of the school year with Amoyo enrolments increasing, classes overflowing and our team trying to give every child a place, regardless of limited class venues. This year was no different,” says Ms Conley. “We at Amoyo are looking forward to welcoming a lot of new students.”

It felt even more important this year to give each child a place due to the last two years of lockdown and the lack of human contact, she says.

“It was wonderful news for Amoyo to have Hout Bay Primary School join Amoyo as another venue partner.”

Charmaine Nxele, from Imizamo Yethu, joined Amoyo in 2015 and graduated in 2020. She studied African and contemporary dance, ballet, speech and drama, singing and musical theatre.

“Amoyo helped me to make sensible choices that have impacted my life positively,” she says. “Even after matric, I use the life lessons that Amoyo gave me.”

Dineo Rawu, also from IY, joined Amoyo in 2015 and graduated in 2020, after studying African and contemporary dance, ballet, and speech and drama.

The foundation helped her land an internship at the Tintswalo Atlantic hotel, she says. “I’m currently studying for a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in criminology and psychology at the University of the Free State.”

Amoyo, which has previously won a ministerial award from the national Department of Social Development, uses performing-arts classes and life-skills training to put young people on the road to success.

“With every new dance step learnt, with every new drama skill acquired, with positive feedback each and every day, children blossom in ways that might seem unfathomable to many,” Ms Conley says.

The foundation has faced its fair share of challenges over the years, including a financial crisis that almost saw it close (“Amoyo in the red,” Sentinel News, May, 18, 2018), but Ms Conley says she is determined to build on its achievements, including Amoyo’s selection by the Imperial Society for the Teachers of Dance to develop its African dance syllabus.

“We are also starting a ballet exam syllabus to help our beneficiaries experience working towards a goal. This is a new and exciting development.”

The foundation gives online and in-person workshops on African dance, the djembe drum, gumboot dancing as well as motivational talks.

Amoyo is available for corporate and private events, and corporates and private donors who wish to get involved can contact Amoyo at 021 300 3297.

Charmaine Nxele, of Imizamo Yethu, says Amoyo helped her make sensible choices that changed her life for the better.