Project “Dancing Kids”

Project CLICK A Swallows Flight Who Stole the Chips?

The community dance project “Dancing Kids” targets children from 3rd to 6th grade studying in public schools in different neighborhoods of Sofia and vicinity, including schools located in disadvantaged neighborhoods. It gives the young people the chance to experience the magic of dance art, while working with a renowned professional choreographer and his assistants. The work process includes the development of an original choreography by Petur Iliev on a topic of social and educational significance, and the completion of an authentic dance show performed at the end of the creative and rehearsal process. In the course of one year the foundation conducts dance classes with over 100 children from 3 to 4 different schools, training them in various dance styles dance and preparing them for a stage appearance and performance.

The program is an innovation to the Bulgarian context, as it is designated not only to develop creativity and taste for artistic production in children, but also to build up motivation and self-esteem in them for achieving results and handling difficulties on the way. In addition, it gathers children from different social backgrounds to work together, pursuing a common goal – the creation of a complete artistic product to be performed on stage. This experience builds in them a sense of tolerance, understanding and appreciation, errasing the differences. Also, many of the participating children have never had the chance to experience the rich cultural life of the Bulgarian capital. Through the program they become important artists with key roles in a stage production, working with many adult professionals. The trust that they receive and the cheer and applause from the audience are deeply rewarding and have a transformative power. The artistic director of the foundation, Petur Iliev, has many years of experience in the field of social and educational dance projects with children at risk in the USA. For example, in one of his joint projects with the guru of American dance, Jacques d’Amboise, under the umbrella of the National Dance Institute, they worked with 1200 children from 12 different public schools simultaneously, and produced a final dance show performed at Bass Concert Hall in Austin, Texas. In April 2012, as part of the Dance It! 2012 Spring Intensive, Petur Iliev attempted a trial run of this initiative, working with 21 Roma children from 103-rd Primary School in the Sofia neighborhood of Filipovci. Their work was eventually successfully staged as an opening act during the Dance It! final showcase at the Musical Theatre in Sofia. The success of this pilot run triggered the further development of the idea into a permanent educational program, with which we are very proud.

The project is made possible with the kind support by our partners – the U.S. Embassy Sofia and the America for Bulgaria Foundation.

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Part of the funds for the project were raised through a campaign organized with the support of the project "Effective approaches to sustainability of NGOs", sponsored by "America for Bulgaria" and implemented by the Bulgarian Center for Not in partnership with the PACEL.

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