Eveline Aendekerk (Executive Director dance4life) is one of those highly inspirational women with a hands-on mentality and an admirable amount of grit. Determined to change the world, one step at a time. The ultimate dream? An aids-free world. It’s safe to say AMF couldn’t be prouder to have dance4life as a partner. In anticipation of this year’s festival we sat down with Eveline to talk music, future plans and of course dancing.
What is dance4life’s mission?
“We dance4life because unsafe sex is one of the biggest health threats to young people’s lives. That sucks. Because it doesn’t have to be that way. In many countries, young people don’t have access to sexuality education, no access to condoms and very often don’t have any possibilities to get themselves tested without permission of their parents. We truly believe we must and have the ability to turn this around. By 2030 we will therefore have involved over 10 million young people – empowering them to lead healthy sex lives and change a generation’s future for the better. We will realize this with our personal leadership and engagement model that changes young people’s approach to sexual health. We don’t want to exist forever. We will dance until our work is done.”
You joined dance4life in 2007. When you look back on these years, what are you most proud of?
“The positive impact we were able to make. Touching upon the lives of over 2 million youngsters. That particularly makes me super proud as these young people are the soul of our movement. They are our role models, and the real change makers that will lead their generation to healthier lives.”
What are your future plans for dance4life? What are the goals for the next few years?
“In the end our goal is to realize our mission: unsafe sex is no longer a health treat to youngsters. By 2030 we will involve over 10 million young people – empowering them to lead healthy sex lives and change a generation’s future for the better.”
What are the biggest challenges for a foundation like dance4life?
“The (growing) conservatism in the world! The topic of sex has always been a taboo in many cultures, but sex in relation to young people is in many cultures a no go area. The fact that young people have sexual rights; enjoy the freedom to make their own choices when it comes down to if and when to have sex, with whom, whether to have children or not.. It is just a bridge too far for many (mainly) adults.”
Can you describe the importance of music and dance (from dance4life's point of view)?
“We believe in the universal language of dance and the positive energy of music to connect with young people as equals: we’re in it together. Through our celebrity ambassadors (like Hardwell & Doutzen Kroes), events and online campaigns, we establish a personal connection, we speak their language and understand the way they think.”
Dance4life and AMF worked together successfully last year. What does AMF mean to dance4life? Why is this such a special collaboration?
“Dance4life and AMF both believe in the positive power of music and dance. By joining forces we’ve reached tens of thousands of people and have been able to let them know that they too can contribute to a world in which all young people can be sexually healthy. Last year, AMF donated an amazing amount of 17.000 euros.”
25ct of each ticket sold is going to your foundation this year. What purpose will these funds serve?
“Just like last year, the donation of AMF will fully contribute to our educational programs. For example on our schools program in southern Africa. We work in high schools, reaching young people between the ages of 12 and 18 years old. To create behavioural change, we use a four-step concept. We inspire young people, we educate and activate them, and in the end we celebrate their achievements. Last year's donation enabled us to educate over 1.700 youngsters in Africa."
Are you going to do some dancing yourself during AMF? If so, are you looking forward to an artist in particular?
“Absolutely (although I’m not the best dancer myself) and I’m really looking forward to see our ambassador Hardwell and one of our first ambassadors; Tiësto.”
Is there something you’d like to share with the visitors of AMF?
“Celebrate life, because it’s precious!”