Vancouver photographer shines light on South African dancers (PHOTOS)

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Jenni Sheppard Jan 10, 2017 6:53 am 253

Vancouver photographer Amanda Webb is shining a light on the dancing talent of South Africa in a new book, to help aspiring dancers living in poverty.

Because Dance features more than 50 dancers of all abilities, photographed in South Africa, together with their stories of inspiration, struggle and triumph.

All profits will go to the iKapa Dance Outreach Programme, a non-profit which enables kids from disadvantaged Cape Town communities to learn to dance.

Webb told Daily Hive she was inspired to create the photo series when she went to South Africa and saw so many children had “virtually nothing.”

“If it weren’t for iKapa Dance, these children would never have been able to afford to take dance lessons, or anything similar,” said Webb.

“Even though they are so poor, often can’t afford meals, and live in dangerous areas, the children are still eager to dance and enjoy themselves.”

Caught in beautiful flow. Taare is a non-profit Bollywood dance performance troupe based in Cape Town. (Amanda Webb)

One of the dancers featured in Webb’s book, performing with Taare, a non-profit Bollywood dance troupe based in Cape Town. (Amanda Webb)

Webb said the iKapa programmes and training allow kids to get scholarships to better schools, provide a safe environment and fun activity to pursue after school.

Some even develop into professional performers or teachers, said Webb, who featured some of the graduates of the programme in her book.

“There is so much talent in South Africa, and if these children are given opportunities in the arts they will excel,” said Webb.

Here are some of the dancers featured – all captions were contributed by Webb herself.

Dedicated elegance. Percephone and Angelo ballroom dance along the promenade in Cape Town. (Amanda Webb)

Dedicated elegance. Percephone and Angelo ballroom dance along the promenade in Cape Town. (Amanda Webb)

Dancer Percephone told Webb dancing gives her a chance to be seen in a different light, away from the negativity that comes with everyday life.

“Dancing gives us the opportunity to be judged based on what we do and not what we have,” dancer Percephone told Webb. “Our talent and love for the art far outweighs what we wear or what we can afford.”

Nicole and James soaring on Glen beach, Cape Town (Amanda Webb)

Nicole and James soaring on Glen beach, Cape Town (Amanda Webb)

Dancer James, pictured above with dance partner Nicole, has represented South Africa at the World Hip Hop Championships.

He told Webb dancing helps him control his diabetes – and he gets inspired daily by anyone who feels the need to move when they hear a piece of music.

“I love to dance because it’s taking whatever emotion you are feeling from the music around you and turning it into a visual concept,” he said. “It’s expressive and alive.”

Palmira launches off a hill of cobblestones into a backdrop of colour provided by the Bo Kaap suburb. (Amanda Webb)

Palmira launches off a hill of cobblestones into a backdrop of colour provided by the Bo Kaap suburb. (Amanda Webb)

Dancer Palmira told Webb dancing had helped her cope with the death of her father in the final year of high school.

“Dance gives me empowerment through a feeling of freedom and strength. There is no place in the world where I feel as powerful as when I am in a dance studio,” she said.

To support the project, email Amanda Webb at [email protected]. Books are $37, with all profits going to iKapa. Postcards are also available.


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Jenni Sheppard
Senior Staff Writer at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, foodie, film fan, feminist, geek, cheesemaker, curler.

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