Kildare town schoolgirls turning racism into dance

Dance routine from the students of Scoil Bhride Naofa performed at the Aviva Stadium.
A colourful dance display by the girls of Scoil Bhríde Naofa, Kildare Town, drew loud applause in the Aviva Stadium conference centre on Wednesday April 10.

A colourful dance display by the girls of Scoil Bhríde Naofa, Kildare Town, drew loud applause in the Aviva Stadium conference centre on Wednesday April 10.

The 30 sixth-class girls took to the stage in front of 500 people for the finals of a creative competition run by anti-racism charity “Show Racism the Red Card”.

The display was the culmination of eight months hard work for the girls. Since September they have been working on anti-racism projects in class, including a blog and some hi-tech stop motion animations.

Teacher Grainne Nugent and Suzanne Hogan of Synergy and Life dance company helped create the performance for the competition.

“Suzanne worked with the girls and they choreographed a dance based on what the girls thought about racism,” Mrs. Nugent explained.

“When the project started they understood what racism was, but not how it felt. Then one girl in the class was the victim of a racist attack. We encouraged her to write about it and put it in as a drama at the start. The girls worked very hard on the piece after that.”

Leading dancer/actress Andrea gave a particularly expressive performance on the day, but all the girls performed their roles excellently.

Their multi-coloured costumes stood out in the sea of school uniforms at the event.

“The girls made the costumes themselves,” said Mrs. Nugent. “The colours symbolise how people come in all colours of the rainbow.

“Even the ‘racists’ in black had colourful hearts to show they too are human”.

Though the girls unfortunately missed out on the top prizes on the day, they made the best of the event and hope to perform their dance for the whole school when the weather improves.

In the meantime they have been showcasing their project elsewhere.

On Wednesday April 24, eight of the girls travelled with Mrs. Nugent to the Presentation Sisters’ 10th anniversary “Challenge to Change” seminar in Kilkenny.

There they met with pupils from 33 other schools to talk about their work and exchange ideas.

“It’s definitely a worthwhile cause,” said Mrs. Nugent, when asked if would she recommend getting involved to other schools.

“The creation of awareness of racism is very important, especially in young people.

“The girls learned that racism is not acceptable in any shape or form and they also really enjoyed the project”.

- Ciaran Galvin