Located five kilometers away from the city center of Kenyan capital Nairobi, Kibera is not only the largest inner-city slum in the Eastern African country but also the biggest urban slum in the entire continent. Not exactly the most obvious place to establish a ballet school so to speak.
But two African NGOs refused to be brought down by circumstances and went on to launch a full-fledged ballet academy, dubbed the Kibera ballet school, right there, in the middle of Kibera’s overcrowded urban district where a total of 250,000 people currently reside.
Organized in collaboration with an existing ballet studio in Karen, one of the city’s affluent suburbs, ballet classes in Kibera reconvene on a weekly basis at Spurgeons Academy, a local school where talented young students have got into the habit of transforming the concrete classrooms into their own dance studio with every new dance session.
But the journey does not stop here. Young students who demonstrate superior talent are invited to train at the Karen studio and ultimately presented with the opportunity to perform in selected productions at the city’s national theater.
This project falls under charity activities undertaken across Kenya slums by two African organizations: Anno’s Africa, which introduces underprivileged children to creative opportunities of all sorts, and One Fine Day, a subsidiary of the former that was established with an aim to create artistic opportunities for these children all year long.
Breathtaking photos of the ballet classes have recently reemerged in mainstream media, showcasing the vibrant dance attire and exuberant energy of young dancers practicing and showcasing their finest moves to the sound of classical music inside Kibera slums.
In addition to ballet, students can also pick dance, music, creative writing or film classes to nurture their creative potential as reported by Al Jazeera English in an earlier coverage of the project last year.