Action DYC: Dance, Yoga and Community

The Problem

Action DYC: Dance, Yoga and Community Action DYC is a current work in progress. Our team is starting to fundraise and apply for grants so that we can start this project by the beginning of this fall, in September 2007. The summer will be spent fundraising, going to conferences, and securing a yoga studio in Dakar, Senegal. We have plans to stay in Senegal for the academic school year, through 2008, and then we will be back in New York City to start our project here in September 2008. Our mission is to encourage youth to participate in the action inherent to dance, yoga and most importantly, community. Action DYC will have two outreach studios- one in Dakar, Senegal, and one in New York City. During our first year of operation, the studio in Dakar will be established and the New York City studio will follow the year thereafter. The studios will offer both yoga and dance classes, which will serve as sources of revenue. The studios will also provide a space for community organizing forums. In Dakar, Action DYC will sponsor a group of Senegalese actors and dancers to travel to different rural middle schools throughout Senegal. Here, the troupe will stay for a period of one month, meeting with middle school students after school several times a week to hold malaria education and dance and theater workshops. In addition to the actors and dancers will be a nurse, who will be able to provide routine checkups to all students. The troupe will stay with each school for approximately one month, allowing up to nine schools to participate in Action DYC programming. At the end of each month, the students will perform a choreographed dance and theater piece (that they helped to create) that focuses on malaria prevention. Dance will therefore be used as a means of expression and education. In New York City, the workshops will focus on education about Africa. This aims to advance a greater understanding of the rich history that existed on the continent prior to, during, and after colonization in a school curriculum that often focuses on Western history and developments. There will, of course, be a dance and theater component to New York City programming as well, taught by Senegalese dancers and actors currently living in the city. The culmination of the workshops and performance will include a call to continue an advocacy campaign chosen by the students. The traveling troupe will guide and encourage the students to continue the campaign throughout the school year. At the end of the year, Action DYC will ask each school to nominate six students to participate in a two-week youth summit, held at outreach studio (either in Senegal or New York City). The students will give presentations on their chosen advocacy campaigns and Action DYC team members will provide leadership and community organizing workshops for the students. Students will also be able to participate in yoga and dance classes at the studios. All yoga and dance classes will be taught by the traveling dance troupe and Action DYC team members. This allows the troupe to be involved both inside and outside of the studio. Yoga and dance classes will be a primary source of revenue but not the only source. In the future, we would like to offer yoga immersion retreats in Senegal open to both United States and Senegalese residents. Additionally, Action DYC plans to sell handcrafted Senegalese yoga accessories (clothing, mat bags, etc.) in our own studios and in other New York City yoga studios. Action DYC believes the setup for this partnership can be accomplished in two years. We will set up in Senegal in the first year of operation, first going in the summer to arrange studio space and finalize the dance troupe for the fall. Action DYC will be established in New York City during the second year. From that point on, the organization will operate as a cross-continental partnership. Action DYC is set up to be a self-sustaining program, employing workers local to each region. We believe these people possess the most agency to create change within their own communities.

Plan of Action

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