Tsogo Sun Arts Academy is closing its fifth year of successful growth among more than 500 young learners in 12 different schools with community concerts in both Diepsloot and Mayfair – the main areas where the academy operates – where the youngsters will have the opportunity to show off their hard work.
The community concerts are open to friends and family and other interested members of the local community and showcase some of the best learning’s the youngsters have gained over the year. Also attending the concerts are respected industry professionals who adjudicate the show and determine which performers will be selected to go on to perform at the final concert at the Lyric Theater in Gold Reef City in November. This final concert concludes with an awards ceremony in four categories, including the top high school, the top primary school, the best three individual performers, the most enthusiastic educator and the best performing facilitator.
The year-long Tsogo Sun Arts Academy curriculum is designed as an all-encompassing programme that uses the arts as the foundation for opportunities for growth and learning for the children in both primary and high schools. It covers the basics of drama, dance, vocal training and voice projection, as well as a carefully structured life skills course that empowers the youngsters to make sound choices throughout their lives. The All Stars programme is a spin off from the Academy and is designed to give the particularly talented youngsters the opportunity to explore a future in the performing arts industry.
A highlight on the programme for some of the Tsogo Sun Arts Academy All Stars youngsters this year was a workshop with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which performed 13 shows at the Teatro in early September. “The Alvin Ailey dance group is one of the world’s most popular global dance companies – and it was a phenomenal once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our youngsters to interact with and learn from these world class dancers,” says Paine. She adds that the All Stars are highly motivated, hard-working and enthusiastic young performers who are already making their mark on the South African arts world. “It has been another great year for our Arts Academy youngsters, many of whom will have had life-changing experiences over the course of the year. This concert gives them an opportunity to shine in front of their peers as well as their family members – and it is always a joyous explosion of enthusiastic song and dance – with careful choreography and polished performances,” comments Shanda Paine, Tsogo Sun’s head of CSI.
She adds that Tsogo Sun’s focus on entertainment and theatre makes the running of the Arts Academy for young people a natural fit for the group. “The Academy is allowing us to expose young learners to the world of arts and to identify the most talented young artists early on and nurture their talent – while at the same time giving them sound life skills training for future success. It’s a privilege for us.”