Performing Arts - Week 1

I am leading dance, drama and singing classes for students at Faith & Hope Primary School, ranging from nursery to Primary 6. There are around 50 in a class and ages within a year group vary depending on when they started school. 

Each year group has a different theme: Insects, Under the Sea, Pirates, Jungle, Scotland and Around the World. 
All are working towards performing a song and a dance to family and the rest of the school in a show on Thursday. 

Classes are held on the overgrown uneven playing field in the boiling heat. 
The children wear school uniform (not sports clothes) and have no access to water to no such thing as a water break! As teachers, we avoid drinking water in front of the children to be sensitive to this difficult issue. 

We have a translator to help the children understand alongside having learned basic KinyaRwandan phrases which go a long way in entertaining and bonding with the children. They love asking, our name, age, or parents & siblings names. 

The volume of energy and enthusiasm the children bring to every class is frankly overwhelming. They are ecstatic to get involved and try whatever is thrown at them with a permanent smile. There is no resistance or attitude; such a breath of fresh of air in contrast to many of the children I teach in the U.K.  Self-entitlement does not exist in Rwanda: survival-mode only. 

Rhythm is naturally in their blood. I just adore watching them freestyle to music. There are no inhibitions, every step is danced with heart and soul. In any downtime between classes we often just put some music on and dance together as one big group. It is the epitome of what movement and music does to unite different cultures, the main reason I travelled to Rwanda. 

In singing lessons, their ability to pick up songs and sing them back instantly is incredible. Whenever they see me in the playground, they run up and sing me the songs to show they’ve remembered, again with huge toothy grins. It’s so endearing. 


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