Mara Galeazzi, principal dancer with The Royal Ballet in London, created Dancing For The Children to raise and distribute funds to help children around the World and danced for the charity at galas in Pretoria, Cape Town, Nairobi and Mombasa in 2007. The inaugural tour in 2007 was generously underwritten by a donor.
“It was a very intense fifteen day experience, with two ballet performances in each city and many workshops. We were working in a very different environment, in a very different climate - very different from what we were used to at the Royal Opera House.”
The entire profit from those galas was spread amongst local charities both big and small, particularly those that help under-privileged children explore the joys of dance and those that help to fight the spread of diseases, such as AIDS.
Amongst the charities and dance groups we work with are:
- Moving into Dance Mophatong (Johannesburg)
- Dance Factory (Johannesburg)
- Rena le Lona Creative Centre for Children (Soweto)
- Jikeleza (Hout Bay, Cape Town)
- Dance for All (Cape Town)
- Desmond Tutu HIV Centre (Cape Town)
- The Kijani Kenya Trust (Kenya)
Now, in 2010, Mara has organised this Gala at Sadler’s Wells, ‘the home of dance’, to raise funds for a proposed tour to South Africa in 2011.
“I really believe in this initiative,” says Mara, “I am proud to be able to help children who live a life less wealthy than we all live. We are very, very lucky living in a world of the finest things (like ballet) and I believe dance can speak a universal language and can help me and my friends from The Royal Ballet put something back into the world through workshops with the under-privileged children of this region and also generate funds for various local charities.
”I am very fond of dancing abroad with my colleagues, as we do in my own shows in Italy, ‘Mara in Motion’. We plan to return to South Africa in 2011 with our Dancing For The Children concept. This is very important to me because it is part of a wider humanitarian aim. It makes me proud and fills me with emotion.“I strongly believe in giving something back to the world and helping children. When I was eight years old I told my mother that I wanted to be a nurse – and not just a regular nurse, but a paediatrics nurse in Africa. We had studied about Africa in school and I will never forget that. My pre-teen urge to help has not dwindled and that is why it was important for me to be actively involved. So, if I can use my career to help these children, to develop their souls, that’s a project that I value and is close to my heart.”