Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Philadelphia choreographer gives Rwandan youth a reason to dance

Rebecca Davis is the founder and Artistic Director of Philadephia’s non-profit Rebecca Davis Dance Company. In 2008, she traveled to Rwanda to teach dance to child survivors of the 1994 genocide that annihilated over 10% of the country’s population in less than three months. When she returned last year, she found that the project’s sponsoring group was closed, the safe house where the boys were living was gone, and many of the children she taught were once again living on the streets. Together with a volunteer friend, Rebecca vowed to raise the mere $2.50 per day that it takes to send at least one of her students to boarding school, asking, “Why can’t we, as an international community, prevent mass murder, or at least protect its survivors?”

Rebecca has choreographed and taught in Canada, Russia, Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and the United States. More than your average dance company, Rebecca founded her namesake four years ago with the mission of deepening the public’s knowledge of classic literature, significant historical events and social issues, and to provide a pre-professional dance-theater training program for young dancers. In the summer of 2009, Rebecca lived in Brcko, Bosnia-Herzegovina, developing a creative movement program for youth, which focused on the theme of reconciliation in a post-conflict country. The Rebecca Davis Dance Company is soon to offer a dance-exchange program with students from that country.

Read her story in Broad Street Review

Watch kids of the Unity Hip-Hop Group of Rwanda perform

Visit the Rebecca Davis Dance Company website

Read Rebecca's bio


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