ROSWELL, Ga. — Tracy Vogt, choreographer and dance teacher with Roswell Dance Theatre, travelled recently to Africa to work with MindLeaps, a program that uses dance to help street children and refugees. The program is designed to help out-of-school youth transition into formal education.
Vogt has been to Rwanda, Guinea and Uganda with the program. Her latest trip, to Kumpala, Uganda, was to train six local staff members, including some former students, in the methodology of the program.
She is the director of the Modern Company at Roswell Dance Theatre and also teaches each week at the South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville. Students range in age from 7–17, and most are in crises situations, often homeless.
The MindLeaps program was founded in 2010 by Rebecca Davis, after she became interested in Darfur and Helen Keller during her work creating original ballet works based on literary and historical themes and modern social issues.
The MindLeaps curriculum is the vehicle to develop concentration, discipline and confidence in the students. In addition to dance, the students learn computer, vocational and/or language skills with the goal of academic or job placement. The ultimate goal that is achieved is breaking the cycle of poverty and becoming self-sufficient individuals.
Roswell Dance Theatre is the performing arts company of the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance.