“The dance education program at NYU encompasses artistry, education, scholarship, and research and these four strands of the academia are very important if we are to make dance claim a place in society,” says Mabingo Alfdaniels. Alfdaniels, an MA student, hails from Uganda, East Africa. He is a Fulbright fellow whose education is sponsored by the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.
Alfdaniels says he is “motivated by the immense potential that dance has to transform communities.” He earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Makerere University in Uganda. As an undergraduate student he researched the therapeutic value of dance for Uganda’s HIV/AIDS population. Among his community service projects: he has worked on dance projects for special needs children, child soldiers, and urban youth refugees in Rwanda, Southern Sudan, and Uganda.
“The knowledge and skills that are offered in the program at Steinhardt is what the dance industry is yearning for in Uganda,” Alfdaniels says. “As someone coming from a developing country, this program would enhance my proficiency as a university teacher, performer, researcher, and community dance facilitator.” He will be sharing the learning he has acquired at NYU with his colleagues and friends in the East African dance community; a circle that includes students, dance trainers in schools, researchers, choreographers, performers, and community development facilitators.
As for his passion for his craft, Alfdaniels says that dancing is in his blood. “Possibly I started dancing before I was born,” he says. “I just found myself dancing and I cannot recall the day or time that I started.”