Through MindLeaps International Artists’ Fund (IAF), world renowned performers bring awareness to the needs of vulnerable youth worldwide.
Misty Copeland, the first African American female principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre,
visited MindLeaps Rwanda in 2015 to launch the inaugural girls program and present the “Misty Copeland Scholarship.”
She returned for a second time in 2018 to teach MindLeaps international dance trainers and see the growth of MindLeaps.
Watch Misty’s trips and hear her discuss her experience in her vlogs on YouTube.
How do the artists participate in the IAF?
The IAF is a way for artists to show that we do not forget the world’s poor in a nonpolitical way; instead, we use our own gifts – such as the arts – to find a way to bring hope and recovery to the future generations.
Our artists travel to MindLeaps’ programs where they see in practice how dance is being used to attract youth and help them succeed in formal education.
They learn about the country’s history and see first-hand the impact of investing in at-risk children. The artists invite their followers around the world to follow their journey and bring a critical level of awareness to these children’s plight.
“These children – their lives – are nothing we can begin to even fathom. They have been through things that no one should ever have to go through.”
“These rhythms meant so much more than counts, and the movements more than shapes. I could feel each child’s spirit in full celebration.”
“You become so filled with mixed emotions because you see how people can have close to nothing, but exude so much love, joy and appreciation for the little things that they do have.”
“We wanted to be a part of something big. We were actively participating in making the world wake up to the power of humanity. Despite all that has happened in Rwanda and all over the world, we all chose to share our stories and then start writing new ones. “
“As a teacher with MindLeaps, you can see results and improvements in your students and it allows you to connect with the students and team on a much deeper level.”
“There is a deep passion to give back to the dance community that has given me so much. I want to pass down this knowledge to those eager to learn. This experience was life changing, rewarding, humbling, necessary, and eye opening.”
“Working with these children in Rwanda and South Africa will be one of the most monumental experiences of my life. It will enrich my art and allow me to touch more people at a deeper level every time I step on stage.”
“My time here in Rwanda with MindLeaps was really transformative. To learn about all the work that MindLeaps was doing was mind blowing. I knew that there were some really great things happening – but to learn about the depth of all the work MindLeaps is doing in supporting children and families and building the community was just incredible.”
Dancers of MindLeaps’ International Artists Fund
Misty Copeland, Principal Dancer, American Ballet Theatre
LaMar Baylor, The Lion King
Mark Caserta, Complexions Contemporary Ballet
Ashley Werhun, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal
Tracy Vogt, Philadanco
Victor Lewis Jr, Philadanco
Chloe Davis, The Addams Family Musical
DuJuan Smart Jr, Bad Boys of Ballet
Nicole Corea, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company
Gregory Brown, Metropolitan Opera
Royce Zackery, Howard University
Dane Hurst, Rambert Dance Company