In Summary
  • The DCK now has 700 students who attend classes at any one of its three centres at Rosslyn Riviera Mall, Lavington Mall and Hardy.
  • The curriculum has broadened over time to meet young Kenyans’ desire to learn hip hop, modern and contemporary dance.

Dance Centre Kenya (DCK) has only been up and training young Kenyans to dance for the last five years.

But in that time, its co-founder and artistic director Cooper Rust has earned such a broad-base after DCK began attracting children from all over Nairobi to dance, even to learn and love the dance called ballet.

She has taught children coming all the way from Kibera to Karen, many of who have gone on to higher dance studies overseas.

But many more have stayed here since they never stop learning new things from the former prima ballerina, who initially came to Kenya to teach dance to “under-privileged” children.

Many of those who have been with Cooper from the beginning are now in her Senior Dance Company, having been in many of DCK’s semi-professional productions of ballets, such as The Nutcracker and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

PERFORMANCE

But currently, the seniors (aged 15 to 17) are learning how to choreograph.

It will be theirs that we will see this coming weekend during "The Tales of Mother Goose: A Young Person’s Introduction to Ballet".

Featuring 30 members of DCK’s Junior Dance Company, which Cooper started two years ago, the company features dedicated young dancers (ages seven through 12) who Cooper says train at one of DCK’s three centres at least three times every week.

“The performance is meant to be a learning experience for everyone,” says Cooper, who specifically wants it to introduce ballet to both young and old in a charming, interactive way.

In order to make the dance understandable to everyone, Mother Goose herself will be on hand to share over a dozen of her most famous nursery rhymes.

“Our Mother Goose (Beautrice Gaya) will be sitting in her giant shoe as she narrates each rhyme, after which the (juniors) dancers will perform the dance that has been choreographed by the seniors,” says Cooper, who is aware that just as the performance is meant to introduce young people to ballet, the show may also be introducing young Kenyans to the stories and rhymes of Mother Goose.

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