About Us

Dance for All (DFA) gives children the opportunity to experience the joy of movement while receiving a high standard of dance training. This training also empowers them with life skills, supports their personal development and opens up career possibilities. DFA is a non-profit organisation that is supported by funders, sponsors and donors.

DFA’s home base is in Athlone, Cape Town. We offer classes free of charge in the townships of Nyanga, Khayelitsha and Delft. With students ranging from the age of five to young adults. Through providing top-class training in a variety of styles, including Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop, African and Spanish dance, we prepare our students to become versatile dancers who have the technical skill, discipline and grounding to enter a career in the performing arts. DFA’s programmes reach approximately 1800 students.

Positive social change

Most of our students live in extremely challenging socio-economic circumstances. Poverty and unstable home environments are common. While some have single parents, others are in the care of siblings or a grandmother. Some even have to contend with an abusive situation or alcoholic parents.

Through offering an enjoyable and constructive extra-mural activity that is open to all, DFA gives children and young adults a safe space to be after school. Experienced dance teachers nurture their talent, encourage their creativity, and give them guidance, support and affirmation. The classes also develop life skills such as discipline and confidence, which empower students to set positive goals for their future – whatever they choose to do. Many of our students have achieved great success and their stories serve as an inspiration to current and future students.

Background

When Philip Boyd, a former principal dancer with CAPAB (now Cape Town City Ballet), started township ballet classes in 1991, he had a group of 34 students that he taught in a classroom in Gugulethu.

He called this enterprise Ballet for All. Boyd was building on the legacy of CAPAB director David Poole, who started teaching ballet in the townships of Cape Town during the mid-1980s. As Ballet for All grew, Boyd recruited more dance teachers and expanded the programme to include diverse dance styles, renaming the organisation Dance for All in 1995.

Right from the start, renowned Prima Ballerina Assoluta Phyllis Spira (OMSG) was involved. On her retirement from the stage, she joined DFA as Assistant Artistic Director and, until her death in 2008, helped to build the organisation into the highly regarded school of dance it is today. A powerful testimony to this is that at least ±50 ‘graduates’ of the DFA programme are working professionally in the performing arts industry and other professions in South Africa and abroad.