There were just over forty of them, 25 in Ouaga and slightly fewer in Bamako, aged between 12 and 25. Their common world was that of many young Africans: the street, getting by, lack of schooling, family and social difficulties... In 2010, they joined the three-year 'Je danse donc je suis' programme, which focuses on an introduction to contemporary dance. A programme initiated by Africalia in partnership with Donko Seko - Dance and choreographic research workshop in Bamako and the Centre de Développement Chorégraphique (CDC) - La Termitière in Ouagadougou, with financial support from the European Commission through its "Investing in People - EuropeAid" programme.
The main aim was to encourage these young people to flourish, to develop their socio-cultural skills - in the artistic sector or in other areas of economic life - and above all to integrate into society (self-esteem - physical and intellectual development - respect for others and listening to them - changing the way people perceive them).
From the beginning of 2010 to the end of 2012, their agenda will include a series of ongoing workshops with African and international dancer-choreographers, awareness-raising activities, and a series of workshops with African and international dancers and choreographers.
and dissemination of 'work in progress' in the working-class neighbourhoods of the two cities, and regional exchanges between the young participants from Ouagadougou and Bamako. Filmed monitoring of this programme and reflection and evaluation activities will enable the impact of artistic initiation on these young people to be measured, and will serve to build an effective methodological approach for new similar initiatives.
In carrying out this mission, the two arts training centres were accompanied and supported by two local social organisations for young people in difficulty.
They are responsible for psychosocial follow-up and assessing the socio-cultural development and integration of these young people.
The rigour of dance, the encounter with the artistic world, the feeling of existing and the measure of respect are all aspects that have shaken these young people and, consequently, the way others see them. "Je danse donc je suis" has not only given these young people a chance to dream and to build hope for a better life, it has also improved their ability to project their experiences through dance and to develop their self-confidence...