Session two has begun – Let’s dance

After a two week break we’re back in the game at Mattaw Children’s Village, and man oh man, are we having a good time.

Teaching the dance class has always been a struggle for Sam because she’s a contemporary dancer and most kids here have absolutely no interest in her style of dance. Kenyan kids love to dance and most have impeccable natural rhythm, but it’s very difficult for them to easily catch onto styles outside of what they know.

In the first session of classes, students focused on the reality of dance as a language and worked on expanding their dance vocabulary a bit. That meant doing a number of improv exercises that really kicked them out of their comfort zones.

Sam working with dance students on body isolations.
Sam working with dance students on body isolations.

They found the challenges to be quite humorous at first, so it seemed as though they weren’t making any real connections to why they were being asked to move in such weird ways. Whenever Sam played worship music and asked them to improvise movement, speaking the language of their heart, it was very awkward. Imagine learning a new language as a child – you’re going to babble. Every time they attempted a worship exercise they felt like they were babbling, so they needed lots of reassurance that it was okay. Babbling is normal when you’re learning a new dance language.

We don’t know what happened over the course of the two week break we had after the first session ended, but day one of the second session was really powerful. Sam explained lyrical dance to the students and went word by word through the song “Rise within Us” by Israel Houghton, having the students come up with three different spontaneous moves to every single lyric. By the time she played the song for them to create movement to, it was like it clicked. All of the awkward giggling dissipated, and you could feel that some of the kids were actually worshiping. Babbling became words!

(You can see a short video clip of them dancing on our Facebook page.)

Last week was our second week of classes in this session, and it was equally good. Each class brings a little more freedom, a little more confidence, and it broadens their dance language exponentially. As moved and as proud as we are to witness their transition, we know that their Baba God is bursting with joy over every movement of their heart that seeps out through their bodies.

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