I had the pleasure of working with an extremely talented group of young dancers in December. Melisa, their dance instructor, and I got in touch through a friend early in the summer and I finally got to meet them! Their group uses dance as a means of social change and as a medium of dialogue, so I jumped at the chance to meet them.
I can honestly say that the day I spent working with them was one of the most inspiring days I have had abroad so far. The girls were so lively, warm, full of energy and incredibly beautiful dancers. A couple of them even went to New York to dance in a Broadway program! I was really impressed by their movement and the emotion that came across anytime they danced- it was so clear that they loved what they were doing and they were doing it because they loved it, that it gave them such a sense of hope and purpose. I didn’t talk to many of them while they danced; I just took photos and videos. They were so mesmerizing and beautiful that I felt so privileged to be able to watch them and spend my day with them.
This group is a really inspiring example of the way that performance art can make a positive impact in Bosnia. Due to lack of job opportunities, I have found that a lot of young people in Bosnia are nihilistic and see very little hope in the future. However, these girls seemed to be bursting with hope and believed in the possibility of things that they could do- which is hugely due to the fact that they are amazing dancers, have a strong artistic community (they have been dancing together for four years), and that they know through their talent they have the possibility to have unique experiences (like dancing with Broadway and traveling to New York). What’s more important is that they really believed in themselves- it was really apparent how empowering the dance group was for them. If more arts programs were given funding and implemented in school systems, I believe that more young people would have a similar outlook on life.
But anyways, I was there because the girls are doing a dance collective in January and their program is in a bit of financial trouble. I came to take photos of them to make a video that could promote them, which was a hard task because we only had a day of rehearsal time. My best friend, Jamila Woods, did the vocals. However, the video turned out quite well and I can’t wait to work for them again.
Here is the video: Genesis dance Group
And their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Genesis-Sarajevo/194839060594214