A Sea Point dance teacher says the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has left him on the brink of closing his studio.
Ricardo Koopman, 55, is now appealing for help as he says the dance lessons kept children off the streets.
“Save the arts through dance and the children,” says Mr Koopman, who says he has been teaching dance to children across Cape Town for the past 35 years.
He said he ran his free classes at a local school but because of the effect of the pandemic, the school started to charge him for rent. “I no longer have the support I had. I’m struggling, I need a venue where I can continue helping kids develop skills that could change their lives.”
He said the thought of not working with young dancers again due to financial constraints devastates him.
“I’m appealing to anyone who can assist us, anyone who can help us save the arts, anyone who can help save the kids through dancing,” he said.
Mr Koopman says for many years, he taught for free in Hout Bay, in search of raw talent.
He has appeared in a number of programmes and choreographed a range of children’s musicals and stories.
He added that the pandemic has severely affected
the dance industry and they can’t even enter dance competitions that usually bring in money.
He said he’s thought of using technology and making dance videos for children to use for practise but the children he works with are from disadvantaged backgrounds and cannot afford wi-fi and data. “The dance studio keeps children off the streets, it keeps them entertained and allows them to progress and get equipped,” he said.
Contact him on 072 100 7170 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.