Two Steps Forward with Valeree Pohlby ZaCK, www.absolumentmadonna.fr
Dancer Valeree Pohl, 24, who has done two world tours with Madonna, recently gave an interview to ABQ Journal.
Earlier this year, she traveled to Malawi with the executive director of Madonna’s Raising Malawi program, which works with community leaders, volunteers and non-governmental organizations to try to break that central African country’s cycle of disease, despair and poverty.
She decided to create “Two Steps Forward”, a dance project for the orphans, under the auspices of Raising Malawi…
“We visited the Home of Hope orphanage in Mchinji, Malawi, and I just hung out with the kids and played with them, helped them do a little gymnastics and flips on the monkey bars.
As soon as I gave them attention, they just lit up.
We have so much in our lives. These kids don’t even have parents. And the ones in the orphanage are actually the lucky ones.
They just had so much life in them and absolutely nowhere to put it. These kids need to be able to focus their energy and creativity in a positive way.
I know they have the creativity and the mind power. It’s a different type of education.
The kids don’t speak English, so each teacher will have a translator to help us get across the vocabulary and choreography.
But I think we’ll all speak the language of music.”
In late September, she and three other L.A. dancers will return to the orphanage, along with a videographer and costumes, makeup, light boards and other equipment. For five days, they’ll stay at the orphanage and hold a dance camp with more than 550 residents, ages 6 to 21. At the end of the week, the kids will perform for their peers, teachers and the first lady of Malawi.
Philippe van den Bossche, executive director of Raising Malawi, explained how positive this experience could be…
“In many rural African villages, children learn how to dance long before they can speak.
This wonderful dance project organized by Valeree will celebrate the traditional dances of Malawi and will give the children enrolled in the program an opportunity to learn new dances from other cultures, which will broaden their experiences and enrich their lives.”
Madonna has committed to providing most of the money needed for the Two Steps Forward program, but the dancers hope to raise more.