When Ghanaian dancer and choreographer Laud Konadu teamed up with two of his friends Ernest Kwablah, aka Quables, and Nicholas Botchey, aka Afrobeast, to create Dance With A Purpose Academy (DWP) in 2017, they knew it was a huge bet. But four years later, their decision is paying off.
“We decided to come together to start this charity group, DWP Academy, because we realized that there were not many professional dance institutes in the country at the time. People were dancing but no one had started something like what we have now,” says Kwablah, one of the co-founders.
The motive for the creation of the Academy was to change the culture of dance in Ghanamaking it more professional, attractive and competitive.
The initiative turned out to be much more beneficial than expected, both for the masterminds behind it and for the students they mentored.
Located in East Legon, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, the academy opens its doors three times a week to anyone who wants to learn the art, helping them rediscover themselves and boost their confidence. .
“We are more than just a dance school. Our goal is to change lives also through dance because some of them are destitute,” said Konadu, known professionally as Dancegod Llyod. The call of Africa.
“We prepare them by first making sure they have a vision for their future, to allow them to grow into more responsible adults who are able to manage their own affairs, because some of them have incredible talents.”
off the streets
Since its opening, the academy has sought to change the African narrative one dance step at a time. He has mentored and provided a source of income for over 200 young Ghanaians who otherwise would have been left on the streets.
Solomon Obeng, 21, who was selling bread on the streets of Accra, was discovered by DWP.
“Selling bread and being on the streets was not something I liked to do, but since I had no choice, I needed to sell to make ends meet. I was earning less than a euro a day from bread sales,” he said.
Obeng recounts his life-changing moment after joining the academy, “Now I can afford to smile. Thanks to the academy, I have been featured in many music videos.”
Featured in the superstar singer’s 2020 music video ‘Already’ Beyonce was an unforgettable opportunity for the young Ghanaian.
International exposure is not the only privilege students enjoy. DWP is also a way to make money, through paid gigs and endorsement deals.
Although the academy is committed to providing young people like Obeng with a life off the streets, it does not limit its reach to those from disadvantaged families. DWP also offers classes for anyone with a passion for dance, says Rachael, known as Energy Goddess.
“I am an accounting student at the University of Ghana, but I also want to be a professional dancer and choreographer,” she says. “It’s not about the money or the fame, but I love dancing.”
To look forward
Dance With A Purpose Academy hopes to expand its reach and reach more people around the world by creating more affiliates and providing opportunities through dance.
Besides schools in other cities in Ghana, the academy has branches in the United States and China.
“Right now, we are training our talents to become professionals in dance. We are determined to make an impact and every day as we see these young people improve and do better for themselves,” said co-founder Botchey at Africa Calling. . “We know the giant leap we took in 2017 to start this academy was worth it.”