It is not everyday that a Broadway dancer from New York arrives in Kigali to share a love for dance with street children. On November 18th, LaMar Baylor, who currently dances with Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway, arrived at FidesCo, a rehabilitation and re-integration center for street youth in Kigali.
The center serves 30 to 60 boys at any given time, and the children are given the opportunity to learn various styles of dance and partake in IT and computer literacy classes through programming offered by the Rebecca Davis Dance Company (RDDC). RDDC is a non-profit organization creating dance and education programs for street children and underserved youth in post-conflict and developing countries.
RDDC utilizes a standardized dance curriculum that helps children develop basic learning skills. Dance is a key tool that helps the street children channel their physical aggression and survival instincts into positive, concentrated and aesthetic movement patterns.
In 2011, LaMar traveled to Rwanda to train our current dance teachers, and this past November, he returned to reconnect. LaMar hopes that dance can have as great of an impact on the lives of the boys at Fid esCo as it has had on his own life. He grew up in Camden, New Jersey, a US city with high crime rates and widespread poverty. When he started taking dance classes, LaMar turned his troubles into the drive to pursue a passion for movement.
Dance teaches the kind of skills and discipline that will help many of the youth in the RDDC program succeed in other forms of education. On Thanksgiving, LaMar created the LaMar Baylor Scholarship Fund to send hard working former street children in the RDDC program to boarding school so that they may pursue education and step out of a life of poverty. Connect with RDDC on Facebook and twitter and please consider donating to the LaMar Baylor Scholarship Fund.
By Sydney Skov
Photographer: Miki Powell