2018 Project Relevé Scholarship

"One of the goals for my latest trip to South Africa was to identify three young women to participate in Gugulethu Ballet Project's summer 2018 cultural exchange dance intensive. It wasn’t easy choosing. The girls are beautiful, talented, full of potential with big hearts. They're smart, deserving, and there are so many wonderful reasons to offer the chance to broaden horizons and to share our cultures and stories and time here together.

Thimna Ndwe, a bright and talented dancer and a born leader, will be joining us  from Dancescape School in Zolani. Dancescape is a wonderful school founded by the dedicated teacher Fiona Sutton, who sadly is no longer with us. Fiona was my mentor and was the first teacher of many talented dancers––including plenty who have gone on  to professional careers in dance! Fiona’s student Thimna explained in her own words how she felt about coming to America: ”I was born ready!” And she is! 

In Gugulethu, where I taught at Igugu-lethu Arts and Leadership Project, there were many beautiful children, wonderfully trained by a great teacher named Olwethu Katase. It was here that I identified Linathi Louw with her beautiful legs and feet and quick mind, just barely 13 years old. She too is ready for this opportunity.   

In addition, Olwethu will join Thimna and Linathi for Gugulethu Ballet Project's summer 2018 cultural exchange dance intensive in the capacity as a dancer and teacher on a professional level, conducting research. I have known Olwethu for five years through the Dance for All program and through various connections in South Africa. She’s a generous teacher, a graduate of the University of Cape Town, and a woman with vision."

KRISTINE ELLIOTT, Founder and Director


We had a wonderful summer with these three young women from June 20th to July 14th, 2018. Thimna and Linathi studied on full scholarship at San Francisco Ballet School, while Olwethu received the prestigious Anderson Scholarship to study at ODC Dance Commons under the mentorship of ODC Founder and Artistic Director Brenda Way and ODC School Director Kimi Okada. Read about their visit in our blog and see more pictures on Instagram and Facebook!