Dance therapy activist visits classes

Alex Lautin, Staff Writer

French-Congolese dancer and activist Bolewa Sabourin visited the Studies in French classes via Zoom on Wednesday. He introduced his project, “Re-création Lycée” (Recreation High School) and answered student questions about his work, world languages teacher Dr. Niamh Duggan said. 

During the talk, Sabourin spoke about his use of dance as a form of therapy to help victims of sexual violence in The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Avery Lin (11) said. 

Sabourin also spoke about his organization, LOBA, which means “express yourself” in the Bantu language Lingala spoken in the DRC. LOBA works with the French school Lycée Jean Jaurès in Paris to educate students on the sexual violence that women face in the DRC, Helena Yang (12) said. Sabourin’s organization helps students research social issues and present on those issues to their peers, she said.

During the talk, Sabourin discussed his current project that highlights the link between rigid gender norms, with a focus on masculinity and sexual violence against women, Duggan said.

Sabourin’s talk on social justice contributed to the class’s central questions, Duggan said. “One of the themes of the Studies in French classes is to think about the ways that certain groups have been marginalized in French and Francophone society and also give [a] voice to experiences that are usually not heard,” she said.

To prepare for Sabourin’s visit, students created a series of mini-presentations inspired by the work of Sabourin’s organization, Narayanan said. “These mini-presentations allowed us to focus on a certain problem or social issue,” he said.

“Bolewa is incredibly inspiring because he’s an example of somebody who has overcome many obstacles and hardships in his own personal life in order to become a person devoted to helping others,” Duggan said.