Youth Dance Group Gets A Boost From Lady Gaga
The videos of their 'copycat' dance routines will make you smile. We'll tell you how you can help support their cause!
Dancing is one of the most powerful forms of self-expression. Choreography can tell a story and build bridges between cultures – it can also be a catalyst for change.
The dancers of the Dream Catchers Academy know this well. The DCA is a free school in Nigeria where teachers use dance, drama and music to empower orphaned and underprivileged girls.
While the school is still in development, and they don't yet have an actual building where students can attend classes, the group has been getting worldwide attention by publishing videos of their dance routines on social media and having celebrities share them with their followers.
The dancers at DCA have been posting videos of their dance routines and tagging their favorite artists to raise awareness. @dreamcatchersDA
In recent months, the dancers posted their copycat routines and have been tagging the artists to grow awareness for their cause. A video of the girls dancing to Lady Gaga's "Rain On Me" went viral in July, causing the mega pop star to retweet it and pledge to help build the group's school in Nigeria.
Gaga also invited the group to take over her Instagram page for a day, so that they could get some press and encourage folks to make donations.
"Over ten million school-age girls are out of school in Nigeria," Seyi Oluyole, the founder of Dream Catchers Academy, said in one of the Instagram stories. "To reduce that number we are building a free education and performing arts academy for under-served girls in Nigeria, because when you educate a girl, you educate an entire generation."
Oluyole started DCA over a decade ago, and now she teaches over 150 students. Dream Catchers Academy/Facebook
The group has posted videos they've made imitating songs by Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez and Sia – all artists who are known for their impressive dance skills. The troupe also offers online lessons in traditional African dance and they stream and sell their own music.
Oluyole started Dream Catchers when she was just 14 years old as a way to get children off of the streets and into school through the power of dance. Now, over 10 years later, she uses her own money to house and care for nine of her students and teaches over 150 kids in total.
"My wish is to tour the world and heal people with the joy these kids exude, irrespective of their pasts," Oluyole said. "I believe the future holds great things for us. The world will know our name."
While the academy has a way to go to get the funding they need to complete the school and help more girls in Nigeria, Oluyole has high hopes and even bigger dreams for her dance troupe.
Oluyole has dreams of her dancers performing on stages all over the world. @dreamcatchersDA
"I want our dancing to be sustainable funding for the academy [so we can] keep growing and help more kids," she said. "Every child that passes through the team will have an opportunity they could never have dreamed of."