During the past two weeks, Grace students in early childhood and Grades 4 and 5 participated in workshops with Lesole Maine, the founder of Lesole’s Dance Project. Lesole’s Dance Project works “to educate and inspire through South African dance and culture.” Our students have certainly been inspired and educated, thanks to the time and talents Lesole offered! The pictures below give a small idea of the joy that the movement and song brought to our students.
As an artist in residence, Lesole worked with students at Grace thanks to an opportunity through Artivate, a local arts-based organization that coordinates and provides performances and workshops to schools and our community. We are grateful to Grace grandparents Don and Ann Hague, who made this residency possible for us.
Artivate offers experiences that represent cultures and art forms from around the world, and our workshops highlighted the dance, music, and culture of South Africa, which is Lesole’s home country. Grade 4 and 5 students learned an original gumboot dance with the song “Singabahambayo,” a South African freedom song, which they performed during last Friday’s assembly. The dance was arranged specially for this performance, and our students have been challenged and motivated by the dance steps taught! Additionally, they researched traditional Zulu dance and culture, and helped to create and perform an original dance inspired by Zulu warrior movements.
Our early childhood classes had an exciting time learning their own version of gumboot dancing, as well as some South African hand clapping games. We loved learning new dance steps and making a new friend, “Baba L,” as the children called Lesole.
We thank Artivate and Lesole’s Dance Project for sharing their time and talents with us! We encourage you to visit the Lesole’s Dance Project website or the Artivate website to learn more about the program our students have experienced. We look forward to future collaborations.