"Fourteen years ago, inspired by the film Gugulethu Ballet, I visited the township of Gugulethu to teach ballet for a program called Dance For All (serving underprivileged youth in the South African townships) as well as for the University of Cape Town’s School of Dance and the associated Cape Town City Ballet Company.
Gugulethu means “our pride/treasure” in Xhosa-African language. I’ve always loved the African word Gugulethu beside the French term ballet - the fusion while unusual, represents how ballet can be diverse and inclusive. For me, Gugulethu represents more than one township. The word Gugulethu is symbolic of a lot of history and about how people build their own pride, in this case, through dance, under challenging circumstances."
- Kristine Elliott, President, Gugulethu Ballet Project
The mission of Gugulethu Ballet Project is to bring the art of classical ballet to the children and youth of South African townships. Through the study of ballet, including contemporary forms built upon classical foundations, children and youth learn personal discipline, respect for themselves and others, artistic expression, resilience, and focus.
Building on more than a decade of positive experience, Gugulethu Ballet Project has extended opportunities for exceptionally gifted youth from South African townships to study on scholarships in the United States and pursue professional careers. Such success stories inspire the next generation, especially as young professionals return to their communities to mentor and teach.
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