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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337

S. Afr. j. occup. ther. vol.41 n.3 Pretoria  2011




Every dance has its own story - how participation in dance empowered youth living in a rural community to buffer an intergenerational cycle of poverty



Zelda Coetzee

Dip OT (UP), MSc OT (UCT). Lecturer, Division of Occupational Therapy, Department of Inter-disciplinary Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch





BACKGROUND: Rural environments characterised by inter-generational cycles of poverty and historical disadvantage, contain numerous barriers to the development of human potential. This study explored how participation in dancing classes offered by a rural outreach program in a rural community in the Western Cape buffered these barriers and empowered youth to create new lifestyles.
METHOD: An ethnographic research design was used to explore the experiences of youth participating in formal dance classes. Participants were student dancers and community members selected with the use of saturation sampling. Rich data was collected through interviews, a focus group and by walking though and observing the daily life of the rural community.
RESULTS: Three themes arose from the thematic analysis: trapped within a predestined future, empowerment through dance and building a new community. Participation in a new form of dance occupation was found to stimulate the unlocking of youths' potential and empowered them to develop a new lifestyle that differed from the one inherited from their predecessors.

Key words: Dance, youth, rurality, inherited lifestyle, occupational development



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Zelda Coetzee




Mari du Toit, Helene Nutt, Chris-Marie Smuts, 4th year B. Occ Ther students at the University of Stellenbosch

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