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New dance organisations


New dance organisations

Recently, two organisations using dance as a tool for development and social outreach have joined the sportanddev online community. Get to know Move This World, Inc. and Movement Exchange….

The experiences of Move This World and Movement Exchange show that dance is an effective tool for social change and can transcend language and cultural barriers.

Move This World
Move This World (MTW) is a conflict-resolution, civic-education non-profit organisation based in Washington D.C., USA. Sara Potler, founder and CEO of MTW, used dance and creative movement to build social and emotional competencies in a peace education programme she developed in 2007 in Bogotà, Colombia.

Back in the United States, Potler adapted the peace education and dance programme, to the new context – with great success.

The MTW movement-based programme aims to develop key social and civic competencies, such as cooperation and empathy, in youth through dance and creative movement. Students learn these competencies during several sessions and are herewith given tools to become empathetic, compassionate individuals.

Presently, MTW is working with youth at more than 25 sites in Colombia, Nepal, the Philippines and the United States. The movement has gained momentum and is looking to roll out new programmes in several new countries within the next two years. MTW’s work has also been recognised with several awards and nominations, including being shortlisted for the 2011 Beyond Sport Award.

Read Sara Potlers thoughts on how bullying issues can be addressed creatively.

Movement Exchange
In the spring of 2010, Anna Else Pasternak, a dancer, launched Movement Exchange, a non-profit volunteer service. Inspired by the difference dance had made in her own life, Pasternak asked members of a Californian dance network to accompany her to Panama and teach dance to orphans, many HIV-positive.

The feedback of this first dance exchange was very positive, from the volunteers as well as the orphans. Therefore, Pasternak organized another dance exchange this summer. Watch a video about the visit in Panama in 2010.

International volunteers, dancers of all skill levels, are the catalyst of the programme and teach and choreograph for orphans and at-risk youths. Through daily dance lessons, the youth are able to improve their self-esteem and communication and a believe in their ability to do anything. The dance exchange culminates in a final performance. This year, more than 70 dancers were on stage.

By partnering with local Panamian organisations, Movement Exchange has been able to create a context-based programme. At the Malambo Orphanage in Panama, Movement Exchange successfully supports local teachers to maintain weekly dance classes throughout the year. Movement Exchange aims to support other youth-at-risk foundations participating in the dance exchanges with similar ongoing trainings.

Read an article about Anna Pasternak in Harvard Magazine.


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Amélie Gottier


Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 23:00