Fredrik Lerneryd spent the last year and a half photographing ballet dancers in the Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi.
Fredrik Lerneryd spent the last year and a half photographing a group of ballet dancers in the Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya, one of the largest urban slums in Africa.
Dressed in bright blue and purple leotards, their arms and legs craning out as they stretch, Lerneryd’s subjects stand out beautifully against their stark surroundings ― monochrome walls and floors without any adornments. The Swedish photojournalist felt drawn to these dancers not because they are famous, or even professionals. The ballerinas (and ballerinos) in his photos are young students who study dance for fun.
They do so through a program run by U.K.-based charity Anno’s Africa, which provides alternative arts education to over 800 children in Kenya. Taught by Mike Wamaya, who previously worked throughout Europe as a dancer, Anno’s ballet classes focus on both the physical and mental well-being of the 40 or so students who take part, promoting the confidence-building necessary to carry these kids into adulthood.
Cynthia and two boys from the group is handing out donated ballet shoes to the rest of the group
A view over Kibera, the biggest slum in Africa,
The mix of classical music, Mike’s voice going” One, Two, Three Four!” and the colourful dresses turns the grey cold room into a real ballet studio
Mike Wamaya is a former proffessional dancer and teacher for the ballet class, The ballet is part of Annos Africa, a charity who also have art classes, traditional dance music and much more in slum areas around Kenya
Pamela and the other dancers at the studio in Karen. Here they can perform every move without the limitations of space
Halfway into the class, the train one by one, this is where the children can move freely and freely practice their skills and dance moves.
Pamela is now dancing in a Ballet studio named dance centre kenya and she moved to a boarding school outside of Kibera slum, so her life has improved because of her talent as a dancer
“When I was young I saw ballet on TV, I liked the dance and the pointing shoes, and I wanted to be a ballerina since then” says Pamela 13, one of the older students in the class
While the class takes place, other students, often boys gather all around the door and windows to get a peak of the beautiful dance in the cold concrete room
Cooper Rust is the Artist director at Dance center Kenya, she says that even though the kids train in a small, old room and without shoes, there is really not much difference from the kids who train in her studio a few times a week, here she drilling Dickens, 13 in his dance
It is around 30 children in the class, even though the space is small they manage to dance without bumping into each other
The dancers doing homeworks in between to keep up their grades, they know that good grades and the dance is two things that can take them out of Kibera one day
Pamela is practicing Ballet outside her family’s house in Kibera.
George and Shamick is watching the show backstage during rehearsal for The Nutcracker on Nairobi National Theatre, comming from Kibera and dance at this stage is really extraordinary
Some of the older girls is practicing a dance they do together. There is always curious onlookers when the students practice
Pamela and two of the other dancer is preparing himself before the show on the opening night.
Some of the older students train one day a week in a upperclass ballet school in Karen, the routines here is the same as in Kibera, but the concrete floor and walls is replaced by wooden floors and a big bright room.
Pamela makes sure that her shoes and clothes are in perfect condition at all time.
Wendy is practicing while the other students is observing and cheering for her, they each take turn and learn from one and other
Pamela is being interviewed about her life and travel form Kibera to the national theatre after the show is finished, but for her, this is just the start.
Pamela is watching and waiting for her turn to enter the stage during rehearsal for the nutcracker at the national theatre in Nairobi.
The dancers is greeted with applause from the crowd after the first show of Th Nutcracker at Nairobi National Theatre.
Pamela and George both play a big part in the nutcracker at the national theatre.
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SOURCE: HUFFINGTON POST