Founded in 1991 by Phillip Boyd – a former principal dancer with Cape Town City Ballet and the late Prima Ballerina Assoluta, Phyllis Spira – the programme started out small, giving ballet classes to a group of 34 students in a classroom in Gugulethu under the name ‘Ballet For All’. The vibrant outreach programme, based in Athlone, now has service points in the surrounding townships of Gugulethu, Nyanga, Khayelitsha and Langa. An extended Rural Outreach Programme has been created in Barrydale and in the Robertson Wine Valley.
Classes take place daily at the Athlone studio, with students ranging from three years old to adults learning the disciplines of ballet, contemporary, African and Spanish dance from a dedicated team of teachers. Literally everyone is welcome to learn, though gifted students may be involved in specialised dance programmes towards a career in the performing arts.
Dance For All is associated with and supported by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu as its honorary life patron, and Dr. Mamphela Ramphele and John Persenda as Patrons.
You can help support Dance For All by donating in the form of money or goods (specified in their wishlist). Visit their donation page here to find out more.
Genre: Ballet, Contemporary, African and Spanish dance.
Places to see them in Cape Town: Artscape Theatre
- 2003 – Kula Award: Philip Boyd received a Kula Award for his contribution to community development.
- 2004 – Western Cape Arts, Culture & Heritage Awards: Phyllis Spira received the ‘Life Achievement’ Award and DFA the ‘Sustained Contribution’ Award.
- 2005 – Formation of the Dance for All Youth Company: The DFA Youth Company (DFAYC) was formed with graduates of the DFA Senior Training Programme. It was launched at Artscape Theatre in November 2005 with a sold-out performance of ‘Celebration’.
- 2005 – Training in San Francisco: Nqaba Mafilika and Xola Putye, members of the Dance for All Youth Company (DFAYC), attended a seven-week summer dance course at San Francisco Ballet School.
- 2006 – Cape Town Eisteddfod: Two groups from DFA’s Junior Training Programme were awarded diplomas and the 13-and-over group was the outright winner in its section.
- 2007 – Tour to New Zealand with Buskaid: Three DFAYC members and one DFA Senior Training Programme student teamed up with the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble again to perform in New Zealand.
- 2007 – DFA Dance Centre: The DFA Dance Centre in Athlone was officially opened by DFA’s Honorary Life Patron, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, on 30 May.
Cape Town Eisteddfod: Two groups of DFA students from the Junior and Senior Training Programmes won the title of ‘Best Group’ in their sections and teacher Margie Sim won the award for Best Group Choreography – 13 Years and Over.
- 2007 – Arts & Culture Trust Awards: DFA was a finalist in the Arts & Culture Trust Awards for 2003, 2004 and 2005 in the category of ‘Cultural Development Project of the Year’ and was a finalist for the 2007 Awards in the category of ‘Arts Education’.
- 2008 – KKNK Kanna Awards: Xola Putye received the prestigious KKNK Kanna Award for Best Performance in Dance Theatre. This followed his performance, as part of the DFAYC, of Christopher Kindo’s ‘Agter Toe Deure’ at the annual ABSA Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn.
- 2009 – Cape Town Eisteddfod: Margie Sim’s Sub-juniors won outright at the finals, despite the fact that they’d been dancing for less than a year and, although they were aged only 10 and 11, competed against students over the age of 13. The Juniors received honours and reached the finals in the amateur section.
- 2010 – Johnny Walker Celebrating Strides Award: Philip Boyd was a finalist.
InSPIRAtions Youth Company: formed in June.
- 2011 – Cape Town Eisteddfod: Margie Sim’s group won the finals and she won the ‘Best Overall Choreography’ title for ‘Xenophobia’.
- 2011 – Torchbearers: Twelve DFA students travelled to Wales to participate in a cultural exchange collaborative production at the Donald Gordon Theatre in the Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
- 2012 – ‘Stargaze’ 21st Anniversary Gala: DFA celebrated 21 years of existence.
- 2012 – RAD bursary: ICB Training Programme student Mbongeni Moyakhe won an RAD bursary.
- 2012 – Cape Town Eisteddfod: An ICB Training Programme group won the Adrian Lipshitz award and Ingrid Carlson received the Cape Town Eisteddfod award for the teacher of the best Ballet group, 12 years and under.
- 2012 – Cape Town International Ballet Competition: DFA’s InSPIRAtions Youth Company was invited to perform as guests at the gala evening in March.
- 2013 – Pieces of a Dream – the Story of Dance for All: A coffee-table book about DFA, written by Gillian Warren-Brown, was published in May.