Atite; on The Language of Dance, Adventure, DAS, Culture & the Arts

Meet Atite, founder Dance Adventure Studios (DAS) -Uganda, and explore how you or your children can thrive in the Dance & Community Arts Fields

Hello all, so glad you came by today, oops!! What a topsy-turvy couple of months gone by! Well today, please meet Atite Prisca, founder of the Dance Adventure Studios. In this Blog, we explore what Dance Culture is, what happens at DAS, and what Atite has got to say to all budding dancers. Stay tuned!

Dance Adventure Studios/ DAS Kampala is a Dance Performance, Arts Education and Training Studio open to all Artists. The studio offers professional dance classes, Performers’ Workshops, Residences, Exchange Programmes, and Community Outreaches.  The Dance Adventure Studios’ main vision is to brand Dance performance as mainstream and attribute to social-economic transformation in both children and adults through the mission which is ‘creating community theatre platforms for first-time child performers and fostering Dance and Performing Arts Careers in general.

The Dance Adventure Studios exists as a home. We welcome everyone who really wants, has a talent, and feels like they’re looking for a place to let it grow. Everyone is welcome; we have nine programs, and once one comes, they cannot fail to find one that befits them. We have a performing team, performing department, community outreach department, performers department, and even recently we have an economics enterprise that we recently- collectively  opened up, which is mainly about the different artists visual and fine Artists coming together, to see how they can integrate their work with the performing Artists at the studio. We have weekday programs, dance-fitness classes, Saturday Night Adventures among others. We cover areas of education, fun, entertainment among others. – Atite Prisca, founder of Dance Adventure studios.

Why Dance Adventure Studios?

The cause as to why we started this community project was first, the realization that there is no formal training for most of the people who do performing Arts; the people also really do not know that perhaps one can have this training. On the other hand, though, it’s more about the access. When it comes to the dance department especially, there are very few teachers in our communities that have undergone formal training/ Dance Education Programs.

We have very many wonderful teachers who have held dance workshops and even more but they also have their own challenges for example difficulty in how to plan or manage children attending dance classes, among others. This is because they did not have formal training.

Atite Prisca, founder Dance Adventure Studios Kampala Uganda

Why Community Arts?

  • Because Dance works along with all the other departments of Art. The people who are in the studio are artists. We are really just allowing everyone’s voice to matter. Let everyone’s voice speak and in a sense, giving credit to the teachers whereby, say…

‘It makes no sense for us to be only known as performers or entertainers, yet there is a lot more to that. There is a lot more to entertainment. That’s why our workshops are designed in such a way that we give practical dance education for an hour, then we perform for our students, and after, we teach them how to create/organize these performances.’

  • …this is to emphasize that it is not just about the performances. When it comes to the Saturday programs at the studio, we once realized that the children were taking the entire program lightly and thus decided to spice it up. For the first one hour we, for example, have music for drama, and we are planning to initiate in other programs like public speaking, creative writing, and modeling, painting, etcetera. That way, we challenge our children to grow and associate with whatever other programs they may want to relate with.
Children turning up for DAS classes

Somehow, the world has to know that dance is also like any other career or profession. After your course, you need employment so you put to use what you’ve learned. So that is what we really want to show. Anyone can perform for you, but not anyone can have a similar education as we do.

So in general, we look at Arts Education and Culture. The cultural bit is in such a way that yes, every place you go to has its own culture. But there is one culture that binds the Ugandan Culture, even though culture still, always changes from one person to the other. This is something that we cannot forget at all; Culture.

We are creating a Revival kind of Project.  The Arts Education Project is called ‘Dance without Borders’ and the Cultural Project is called ‘Folklore’, under which we focus solely on cultural awareness through performance, stories, fashion, etc.

Our program is like;

  • 2pm – 4pm – Children
  • 4pm – 6pm – Adults.

We termed the Saturday program as Community Theatre. The other workshops i.e. Dance without Borders is Targeting Schools and Community Based Organisations.

As for Folklore, we are still scouting for more cultural places/audiences to extend it to.

How do you have access to the people who come to the Community Theatre Programme?

  • For the children, we have to go door to door and one reason for this is because within the community our office is located, Art is not something a lot of people understand or rather entertain. It is not something a lot of people are willing to spend money. This especially the Dance and Music Programmes. This is why we have to go door to door explaining to the parents so that they allow a child to come. Or, when the child comes, we encourage to come back again, and this time, to return with a friend.

Sometimes this is also challenging because people promise to come but they don’t turn up; especially the adults. We are strategizing on how to come up with more means to attract a bigger audience.

DAS Dancers

Where do you see the Dance Adventure Studios (DAS) in the next ten years?

Well, in the next ten years I see DAS shifting location, i.e. from renting our studios to owning a place, and on the other hand, having regional branches around the country in the top cities. We are also hoping that we’ll get partners /affiliates around Africa and Internationally. We are also looking at offering Artists Education especially since our slogan is #dancewithoutborders and also because Dance cannot exist alone. It exists along with Drama, etc.

We also hope to be fully able to implement all that we offer i.e the professional Dance classes, etc, as a standalone. We want to host different performers in all destinations in their diversity so that we experiment together. We look forward to hosting more residences, exchange programs, etc.

With our community development, we hope to host the annual community theatre productions.

A child rehearsing at DAS Studios

What is your Individual Motivation and why do you do what you do?

I do what I do because I found myself doing what I do. It’s more of God’s calling. That’s what I believe in. For starters, I was only interested in Dance. So really, it’s a passion that keeps on developing. I loved to be on stage perform, interact with different people, but then as time went on, I realized that there are people who don’t see it that way. There is a popular cliché ‘that dancers are only entertainers’ and one really wants to change that perspective and that’s what makes you jump into advocacy.

Also, on the other hand, it’s to kind of give a voice to those who can’t take on the challenge especially through the Dance Studio and our community outreach program whose focus is mainly to the young generation who would want to take on the journey of performing Arts, but maybe limited by society, stereotypes, family and friends who keep on discouraging them.

So I have to make sure that I build a team that is a representative of the Arts aspects, thus give more motivation to the people who would like to take on a career in the Arts.

Also, I do it because it’s more of debt. Realizing that where you have reached is not something you planned for, yet you see other people planning to get there so since you know the steps, it’s always better to reach out and create a way or platform for these people.

Prisca doing what she does best. Dance…

A word of advice to the youth, who want to pursue a career in the Dance Arts,

One, I would say it’s possible; secondly it takes hard work, commitment, respect, and discipline. You have to believe in God, to believe in yourself, and the Arts career in general, requires being yourself, networking, know your Art, know who you want to present it to, and still, it will come back to your individual interpretation of your work, as there are very many artists who are out there doing the same thing as you do, there are always new people coming up, so literally you can never be the best. If you’re afraid of competition, or you’re afraid of what you do, or you don’t believe in yourself, it is going to be a very tough field for you. Above all, it’s really possible, and you have to learn to be polite and patient.

Is dance really hard?

‘It depends’ said someone. ‘On what?’ we really don’t know.  I would say its relative. Ha-ha Anyways, dance to me is not really hard, depending on your definition of hard. But, it’s possible. I would say, it just needs you to dig deep into it, to love it, to understand it, and it takes practice. The more practice you do, the better you become. The less practice you do, the harder it becomes. – Atite Prisca says.

Prisca on a flight with George. Time for a Dance Adventure to Mozambique!

Thank you so much for visiting, and in case you’d like to get in touch, do leave a message at contact@lunkuse.com, or leave a comment below. Want to get in touch with Prisca? Find her on facebook via Atite Prisca click on Instagram here (HERE)

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