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Dream Up: an encounter between the choreographer Abou Lagraa and young dancers from Sidi Moumen, Casablanca.

  • 23.06.2016

Abou Lagraa, choreographer and ambassador for the Dream Up programme, got the young “stars” dancing in the working-class neighbourhood of Sidi Moumen, a suburb of Casablanca, Morocco.

The arrival of Abou Lagraa, with whom some of the young participants have been working for 3 hours a day for a week, was a high point of the Dream Up program.

The 21 young people selected for the programme, 13 girls and 8 boys between the ages of 10 and 20, have had the opportunity to talk with Abou Lagraa and follow his artistic teaching. Together with Sophia Akhmisse, the director of the Centre, Mr. Lagraa designed a made-to-measure programme for the students.  

> Discover Abou Lagraa's story



“ I’d like to give them the self-confidence that we all need in order to grow and to dare to move towards what we love to do. Dance, for me, is a formidable vehicle of communication, and offers a universal language, a language of the body that everyone can use, regardless of their age, language, socioeconomic background, level of education or even their disability. ”

Abou Lagraa

The Dream Up project

In the autumn of 2015, to celebrate its 30th anniversary, the BNP Paribas Foundation launched its new international solidarity programme: “Dream Up”. Created for the benefit of disadvantaged children and adolescents, this ambitious project aims to support them in the practice of one or more artistic and creative activities. 

With a presence in 26 countries on five continents, Dream Up is designed for young people who are experiencing social or educational exclusion, insecurity, or disability.

For Jean-Jacques Goron, Managing Director of the BNP Paribas Foundation and head of philanthropy for the Group, “the purpose of Dream Up [...] is to fight against exclusion, to foster equal opportunities, and to encourage volunteer work among BNP Paribas’ employees. Our aim is to support these projects for at least three years, as this type of partnership takes time to bear fruit.”

the purpose of Dream Up [...] is to fight against exclusion, to foster equal opportunities, and to encourage volunteer work among BNP Paribas’ employees.

To both enrich the programme and to personify it, Dream Up has chosen as its ambassador Abou Lagraa, a dancer and choreographer whose artistic career has been supported by the Foundation for many years.

©Charles-Henry Frizon / CAPA PICTURES

Dream Up & The Stars of Sidi Moumen – making music accessible for neighbourhood youth

Sidi Moumen is a district located in the eastern part of Casablanca, with more than 300,000 inhabitants. It’s one of the largest and poorest neighbourhoods in the city, with a large population of young people living in precarious conditions who do not have a space for self-expression.

Right at the heart of the neighbourhood, the Centre Les Étoiles de Sidi Moumen (the Stars of Sidi Moumen Centre) offers young people access to culture and artistic creation through courses in the arts and foreign languages.

In June 2015, the Ali Zaoua Foundation (and its cultural centre Les Étoiles de Sidi Moumen) was selected by the BMCI Foundation and the BNP Paribas Foundation to benefit from the support of the Dream Up programme.

In September 2015, registration opened for Dream Up music lessons. Some forty young people enrolled in music classes that October. There are currently 80 beneficiaries of the programme, and requests continue to roll in! They hope to reach one hundred beneficiaries in the very new future... Aged from 5 to 24, the young people are divided into two levels of courses.

©Charles-Henry Frizon / CAPA PICTURES