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From the slums of Kenya to the stage at USC 11 International Students arrive for Summer Dance Program

11 international students arrived last week for the University of South Carolina’s Summer Ballet and Contemporary Dance Intensives. For the past seven years, The Columbia South Carolina based non-profit Artists For Africa has been sponsoring gifted dancers from Kenya, most with impoverished backgrounds, to improve their dancing techniques while improving their lives as well. As one example, 22 year old Lawrence Ogina, will be entering USC’s College of Engineering on full scholarship. An opportunity he may never have had without Artists for Africa.

The students’ efforts will culminate in a final performance on Wednesday, July 31 at the Central Energy Facility in the Bull Street District. The event begins at 6:00 P.M. with an elegant cocktail hour with delicious hors d’oeuvres. A silent auction will also occur where artisan items from Kenya can be purchased.

About Artists For Africa

Columbia native Cooper Rust founded Artists For Africa in 2010.   After volunteering as a dance instructor for Anno’s Africa in the Kibera slum, Ms. Rust relocated to Nairobi to continue her work with the children of Kenya.  In addition to her dance instruction, Ms. Rust works tirelessly with Dance Centre Kenya to produce performances of classical ballet such as The Nutcracker and Giselle as well as modern and traditional African dance. All proceeds from Artists For Africa’s Postcard Art Event go to directly support free arts education programs for orphaned and impoverished children in Kenya.  Artists For Africa, in association with Anno’s Africa (UK), One Fine Day (GER) and Dance Centre Kenya, offers dance, music, creative writing, theater and gymnastics programs to children living in the most destitute circumstances in the slums of Kenya. In 2016, Artists For Africa proudly opened The A4A House in Nairobi to provide safe, supervised housing, nutritious meals, academic support, clothing, school tuition and much more to scholarship students pursuing more intensive training in the arts.  To learn more about Artists For Africa, its work and programs, please visit www.artistsforafricausa.org .

About the USC Ballet and Contemporary Intensives

The USC Ballet and Contemporary Intensives last from July 7-26, and during these weeks, dancers ages 11 and up will be taking a variety of classes to help improve their dancing. These classes include, ballet, pointe, variations, character, contemporary, and more. This year marks the 32nd year that USC has held this dance conservatory, and they offer state of the art facilities, a professional atmosphere, personal attention, and performance opportunities. For more information, visit www.sc.edu .