We are Colombian hip-hoppers changing the world
In this pilot project, we will run a series of hip hop dance workshops with and for street children and teens at an arts centre in Cali, Colombia, run by the cultural innovators Diana Katerine Ortega and Jeyffer Renteria Lozano.
Jeyffer Lozano, one of the founders of Ayara, took the opportunity to step away from the negative surroundings and break the cycle setting up the Ayara organization and opening the cultural centre.
La Familia/ The Family
La Familia Ayara draws on hip hop culture’s potential to promote positive youth development by engaging young people in a language that is relevant to their daily lives, as well as providing a social support network, a means of self-expression, a sense of global belonging, a heightened social consciousness, and an opportunity to be surrounded by positive role models.
Since its foundation in 1996, the schools use a number of dance styles and fashion to enact change in society. In 2007 La Familia Ayara opened their cultural centre:a central space from which their projects could be run, also offering space for workshops, seminars, film screenings, art exhibitions, recording studios, and music video editing.
They train and empower young people to be involved in leadership, influence policy and entrepreneurship, and to create alternatives to violence and social exclusion.
Why Dance? Why Hip Hop?
La Familia Ayara’s workshops and public programs use hip hop as a tool for personal development, goal setting, income generation, and community education. They engage young people directly in efforts to build a culture of non-violence and solidarity while breaking down discriminatory attitudes and practices in Colombian society.
The children and teens at Ayara love to dance and express themselves physically. Previous Breakin’ workshops have proven successful; now we want to cater for both sexes and ages by giving them more genres of dance.
Due to a lack of funds the centre cannot offer regular workshops or training. The centre relies on donations and help from volunteers, and wants to provide the opportunity to learn to dance from professional hip hop dancers.
Taking the Lead
Project Sonrisa will see Rowdy, a leading UK female hip hop dance artist, work with young people and develop the technique and teaching skills of local dance artists who are already dancing. Using a ‘teach the teacher’ method, we will work with these young dancers to develop and enrich their skills, enabling them to confidently build upon their dance career and secure future work.
Colombian born Rowdy has been living and working in the UK since 2002. She is the UK's leading female funk style dancer and has achieved worldwide recognition for her work. With over 15 years experience, her CV to date includes the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony, showcases, performances, battles, video shoots, workshops, and of course teaching.
Her love, dedication and passion for funk styles across the UK's hip hop community earns her a place as one of the UK’s finest dancers and a positive role model for young women.
As a small pilot, this is a scheme that Project Sonrisa and Ayara La Familia want to grow and develop. The long-term goal is to work with professional artists from the UK that will come over to Colombia each year to build upon the pilot by creating and sharing new learning and skills.
If you build it, they will come
Young people are often victims and perpetrators, but they’re also the solution! Ayara doesn't work with the problems of young people, but rather with their skills and artistic talents. Young people have a lot to offer in terms of political, social, economic, cultural and environmental solutions. They have the ability and responsibility to positively change the world.
Help, Share and Stay in Touch
Help us to achieve our goal and get this project up and running. We are sourcing our own food and accommodation and are working for free. We need help with the cost of the flights, the rest is on us.We will keep you updated and informed of our progress along the way….
Thanks a lot