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Hackney all-female acrobatic theatre company fundraising to keep classes affordable for kids

PUBLISHED: 10:30 03 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:52 04 December 2019

The programme is open to all kids aged four to fourteen years old. Picture: Anna Strickland

The programme is open to all kids aged four to fourteen years old. Picture: Anna Strickland

Anna Strickland

An all-female acrobatic theatre company has launched a fundraiser to keep its classes free and affordable for young people in Hackney.

Kids at Mimbre's acrobatic and dance classes get a chance to make human pyriamids, create their own dance sequences and perform in public performances. Picture: Anna StricklandKids at Mimbre's acrobatic and dance classes get a chance to make human pyriamids, create their own dance sequences and perform in public performances. Picture: Anna Strickland

Mimbre's youth programme, featuring street dance sessions as well as acrobatic classes, has been running on housing estates in the borough since 2008.

It was set up by founders Lina Johansson, Silvia Fratelli and Emma Norin who met while studying circus arts in Hackney in the '90s.

Lina told the Gazette: "For us, accessibility is very much at the heart of the programme [so that] as many kids as possible can access the classes and anyone who's interested can come in and take part."

She said initially all places in the programme were free but a few years ago some parents offered to pay to keep classes running and help with funding.

Mimbre's youth programme teaches dancing and acrobatics. Picture: Anna StricklandMimbre's youth programme teaches dancing and acrobatics. Picture: Anna Strickland

Now they let families pay what they can afford and offer free classes to anyone who needs it.

Lina added: "We want to give the young people of our community the enjoyment of human connections and trust, as well as fun movement.

"We evoke laughter, and hold a space to play, collaborate and even make and learn from mistakes - skills and experiences all crucial to nurturing community."

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She says young people do not just learn acrobatics in her classes but that Mimbre is all about self-confidence and encouraging creativity.

"It means to me that I belong somewhere. [I enjoy] the new things that we learn and the new people we meet," said a 10-year-old who attends Mimbre's youth programme.

But Lina thinks it is sad that in Stoke Newignton, where she lives, many of the activities for young people are expensive.

"I think there's quite a divide about what some kids can access - and what other kids can't," she said.

"For us it's really important to create a space where all kids from the [community] can come along."

They hope to raise £2,000 to keep classes open to all and any extra money will go towards providing extra classes after they recently had to reduce the number due to a lack of funding.

The classes are based at Milton Gardens Community Centre in Dalston.

To donate click here.

For more information about the programme click here.

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