Rokeby School dance teacher Omah Ansah-Awuah was awarded a Leader Award for the incredible work he has done with young people across Newham. Omar has enthused in young people a passion for dance and a respect for life, and created the IMD dance group, who have become one of the UK’s most talked about groups in the street dance community.
Rokeby School Deputy Head, Gurjit Shergill said, “With his energy, resilience and passion for dance, Omar has transformed the lives of these young people. He gives up every evening to train them and has become a hugely significant role model in their lives. Omar is a true star, and he fully deserves this award!”
Gurjit’s message was echoed by the students who have directly benefitted from Omar’s hard work. 14 year old enthusiast Corey Somfun said, “Over the past two years Omar has grown to be a father figure to us all. If it wasn’t for his drive and enthusiasm, we wouldn’t have got as far as we have. Personally, being in IMD has given me the confidence to say, I can do whatever I want to do!”
IMD, which stands for Intelligent Minds Dance, was formed by Omar in 2010, and comprises of a diverse mix of young people, aged 10-16, who each specialise in different street dance styles. The troupe has won notable competitions including the XXL UK Street-dance Championships, iDance Hip Hop Championships, Serious About Streetdance, Set-4-Set, and most recently the UKSA British Open. Spectacularly, the group also reached the finals of Sky 1’s Got to Dance 2013 and competed at the 8th UDO World Dance Street Championships in Glasgow in the Autumn of 2013.
Omar began project to dispel the stigma often associated with dance that it is an unintelligent career choice. He told the young people that if they failed academically they wouldn’t be allowed to continue to attend the classes. He said, “The idea was simple and it worked! The kids attended without fail, every week; they gained life skills, better health and wellbeing, academic achievement tripled and family social interaction / community integration improved.”
Omar brought in his good friend Warren Gordon-Scott to help with the choreography at IMD, and together the two have developed a project that, not only inspires young people to dance, but instils positivity and the belief that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.
You can see the fruits of Omar’s hard work by watching the videos on IMD’s website here: http://www.imdlegion.com/
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