English National Ballet star swaps Kensington for Kibera

Isabelle Brouwers in Kibera
Isabelle Brouwers with some of the children from Spurgeons Academy in Kibera. Photo: Instagram/bellabrouwers

British dancer Isabelle Brouwers has been taking time out from her performance duties as a member of the English National Ballet to teach Kenyan orphans in Kibera how to dance.

The German born performer, who is fluent in five languages, studied at the Royal Ballet Lower School and English National Ballet School. Although she has lived in Europe, South East Asia and Mexico, she now considers London her home.

She appeared in child roles in both Swan Lake and The Nutcracker with The Royal Ballet before joining the English National Ballet in 2014 and her awards include Youth America Grand Prix (2007), Genée International Ballet Competition Silver Medal (2013) and second place Young British Dancer of the Year (2013).

In 2015 and 2016, Isabelle was a finalist in English National Ballet’s annual Emerging Dancer competition.

In Kenya she worked with the Ballet Club class at the Spurgeons Academy in Kibera. The Academy is a haven of refuge for the slum’s most vulnerable orphaned children, offering sanctuary to 430 children, providing them with essential food, water, medical care and most importantly education.

As well as leading a ballet masterclass, Isabelle is taking lots of essential dance wear which were generously donated by her colleagues at the English National Ballet.

Discussing her experience, Isabelle said: “The beauty of the education offered here is that it’s truly tailored to enrich each child’s personal growth, integration into society and creativity. Therefore, as well as essential primary academic education, the children are offered an incredible wealthy of co-curricular activities ranging from football, art, music, acrobatics and BALLET!”

The artistic co curricular activities are funded by the Anno’s Africa charity (in collaboration with OneFineDay.ev) which ‘brings to underprivileged children in Sub Saharan Africa opportunities that are normally beyond the hopes and dreams of most children growing up in some of the most overpopulated and poorest slums in the world.

The programme currently offers an alternative arts education to over 1,700 children across Africa, with classes in 6 major disciplines; Art, Creative Writing, Dance (including ballet) Drama, Music and Circus skills.’

The Academy is sponsored by UK based charity GlobalCare, through which you can ‘Sponsor a Child‘ which will help organisation to continue offering their vulnerable yet inspiringly hopeful children the most essential needs that most of us take for granted!


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