London dance student returns to PE roots

(London) – Dancer and choreographer Dane Hurst wants to get children off the gang-ridden streets of Port Elizabeth, where he grew up, and teach them to dance.

To this end, he has bought a special dance floor from the leading Rambert Dance Company after it moved to a new London premises, and has shipped it to PE where he is starting an arts studio for underprivileged children. 

Listen to Hurst revisit his childhood on BBC Radio 4 HERE

GOOD NEWS: London dancer and choreographer Dane Hurst is returning to his Port Elizabeth roots where he hopes to give hope to underprivileged children. Photo: Karl Schoemaker

Dance transported Hurst from the streets of PE’s Gelvandale, where he took ballet classes, to life as a Rambert student and dancer in London. He believes dance can transport other young people to a better life, too.

“Most people say: ‘You must be crazy leaving a job in this day and age’, but I feel my heart is empowering my mind,” says Hurst in the interview.

Buying the floor was the start of a larger dream that Hurst calls the Moving Assembly Project (MAP). In the next few years, he plans to construct a prototype dance space out of shipping containers in PE, and to install the floor in it – to give dance training to underprivileged children.

Hurst spoke to BBC Radio 4 as he started out on his dream, visiting MAP’s pilot project – workshops with vulnerable children at the Ubuntu Centre in the township of Zwide, PE. He speaks about how modern dance touches local teenagers, and Hurst visits his childhood dance school in another part of the city’s northern areas where he finds children in severe need.

This article was sourced from BBC Radio 4.