Boys stretching.
From physical exercise with children in Tumaini Group
Photo: Elin Hassel Iversen

Tanzania has 125 tribes and each tribe has its own drum dance (ngoma). The two leaders of Tumaini Group, Flatei Gregory and Lucian Theobald, have been giving dance and acrobatic workshops in Norway since the autumn of 2002.

The workshops can be an alternative to PE classes, especially in Primary schools. Flatei and Lucian know how to work with both children and adults, and have been met with extraordinary enthusiasm in Norway, from Primary schools, hip hop dancing groups to boxing clubs!

The use of drums will be an important part at all stages of the workshop. The workshop will be conducted in English. The dances that are taught are the dances used in Tumaini Group's performances. At the end of each workshop, a short show will be put together on the basis of material taught in the workshop, and this will be performed for others who happen to be nearby.

Feedback on the workshops has been extraordinarily positive and enthusiastic. This was perhaps most evident at SEVO, Senter for Voksenopplæring [Centre for Adult Education] in Trondheim, where many adult immigrants are studying. The visit from Tumaini Group released pent-up emotions and frustrations, however the frustrations were released in the form of enthusiastic dancing and enhanced self-confidence. According to the teachers, Tumaini Group contributed more to the students’ development in one day than several weeks of the school’s teaching programme. Another example is from Leknes on Vestvågøy. One of the students here, described by the teachers as a ”great talent”, was ordinarily too shy to dance in public. But in the course of a few hours she dared to take part in physical exercises she had never attempted before, and emerged with strenghtened self-confidence.

This is the essence of the activities of Tumaini Group: Building the participants' self-confidence and self-esteem through physical activity and dance. This works equally well in Norway as in Tanzania.