Groove Rising is our awesome project!
Groove Rising was designed with and for migrant and new refugee girls, aged 15 to 25 years old, living in Greater Western Sydney. An ongoing beginners dance class series for them to join together with other young women and express themselves in a safe, creative and joyous environment. Secondary benefits are many, including but not limited to: a place to practice English, foster self-confidence, learn a new skill, a positive experience within their new community and to boost happy hormones. Since May 2018, in collaboration with Cumberland Council, we have been able to deliver classes weekly from Granville, and now Guildford Youth Centre. The response has been wonderful! More girls are finding out about the class through word-of-mouth, as well as our relationship building with relevant community organisations (i.e. SSI, Western Sydney MRC, Navitas English School). Several young women are acting as ambassadors of the class, empowered to spread the word about the benefits and build the inclusive and vibrant atmosphere. A highlight from class is the opportunity to 'freestyle' at the end where girls share what they've learnt as well as their traditional dances, such as Persian, Afghan, Ghanian, Indian and Syrian dance. It is actually the BEST!
"I feel free when I come to class. Like I can do anything when I'm in that room full of hope & music" ~ Afghan refugee, 15 years
The girls have asked for extra creative time as an extension to their dance experience. Our community projects manager is an Arts Therapist and so we plan to roll out creativity workshops where the girls can illustrate, collage and write of their class experiences to encourage others to attend (we don't take photos as headscarves are often off) and to share their voices. This extra time is for deepening connection, reflection and integration. They have also requested an end of year event where friends and family can attend to dance and celebrate together.
Funded by Sydney (October 2018)