Growing the Plain’s dance talent

A Portland dance teacher wants to help young people prosper in the performing arts by opening a dance studio and extending her expertise to take their talent to the world.

Kim Cassels, 28, an internationally acclaimed dancer and teacher from Portland, opened a dance studio in The Westridge.

Young Development Academy (YDA) founder Kim Cassels, 28, an internationally qualified dancer, and her coaches, will introduce anyone, from as young as three-years old, to the art of dance.

Ms Cassels has been dancing since the age of six and has performed in Los Angeles, Denmark, Poland and placed sixth at world hip hop champs in Italy in 2019.

In the International Dance Organisation’s world hip hop-, electric boogie- and break dance Championships in Denmark in 2013, she ranked fifth.

“It has always been a big love of mine to work with kids, especially those who cannot afford classes or live in disadvantaged communities,” she said.

Ms Cassels is a social auxiliary worker for her non-profit organisation Hopes and Dreams, which runs dance programmes and physical fitness classes at Camp Joy, in Strandfontein, working with children living on the street and adults addicted to drugs.

She also manages a netball team at The Farm.

Six-years-ago she started YDA and taught at Portland Indoor Sports Centre befor recently moved classes to Strandfontein. Among her achievements, she said, are having trained South African dancers to compete internationally, and accompanying 100 Cape Town dance students and their parents to Sun City.

“I want young people to use their art to prosper and thrive in their lives,” she said.

She said not everyone was academically inclined and those with creative talents should have an outlet.

She has also opened so many doors for youth in Mitchell’s Plain, who have achieved provincial and national colours for dance, and appeared on television series like Arendsvlei and dance competitions overseas.

Colvin Snell, founder and director of Vision Community Projects, who partners with YDA to bring the dance studio to Mitchell’s Plain, said Ms Cassels had inspired him to open the centre’s doors.

“She can offer kids and teens of Mitchell’s Plain to dance for fun or competitive dancing which can change the lives of those who don’t always shine in school academically.

“However, she makes sure that they know that school is a priority,” he said.

Lessons will be held at the studio opening at the Open Door International Centre, 3 Sayed Abdul Samad Street in The Westridge, on Saturday September 11.

Starting with the three- to four-ear-olds at 1pm, age groups will start every 30 minutes.

Anyone who signs up on Saturday will pay a registration fee of R100 and get a free dance T-shirt.

Saturday classes will cost R150 a month, but Ms Cassels said the cost should not deter anyone.

“As long as they have the passion and the talent – we will make a plan,” she said.

For more information and to book a free slot on Saturday WhatsApp text Colleen Snell on 078 626 7882.