The South African dancer industry is one often overlooked despite embodying the essence of Mzansi’s rhythm and flow. This heritage month, YFM gave the spotlight to some of South Africa’s remarkable dancers including world champions and even public figures.
‘Dance Culture’, showcases a range of amazing talent, their different backgrounds and stories to share about their world of dance. These professional dancers give us an opinion on the heritage behind unique dance styles in Mzansi.
At the forefront of the documentary is YFM personality, Bontle Moloi (previously known as Bontle Modiselle). Moloi paints a picture of her early memories in dance which include joining hip hop crews such as Clinch and New Era to name a few. In the documentary, Bontle highlights how she aims to help other dancers on the rise to make success through dancing.
Upcoming professional dancer, Shannon Kivido from Reiger Park has built a name for herself through networking with other industry dancers, that being; Rudi Smit and Anuq Wilson, who have mentored her and played a role in perfecting her voguing and whacking techniques. ‘Dance Culture’ gave Kivido the platform to express how thankful she is to her role models for being an encouragement.
Kivido has made a living through various gigs and performances that include her featuring on the Idols SA and Afropunk South Africa stage. In the documentary, she shares how the COVID 19 pandemic forced her to find other ways to make money, which was through online classes and taking on a new career in fitness.
One dance crew that was able to rise above the pandemic is City Boys Dance Group from the Vaal. “Because we could no longer perform at events and shopping malls. We started doing videos to post on our social media. This way, people were still able to see what we did and have supported us online,” explained the group’s director and dance captain, Thabang Motsoeneng. The City boys have the most original dance moves from South Africa; this is through the effortless footwork through their pantsula.
The documentary brings attention to the set back the South African dancers faced during the pandemic but more than anything, ‘Dance Culture’ shares dynamic journeys each dancer embarked on to discover their dance style.
For world championship dancer, Thabo Treffers, the love of dance happened when he joined DanceWeb Studios (based in the north of Johannesburg). Being part of a studio helped Treffers to explore which style of hip hop best suited him. He was able to do this with the help of his manager, Craig Bullock and mentor Paul Lethando. Treffers explains how having support from the dance community enabled him to take part in the 2019 Dance World Championship competition in Germany, which afforded him the chance to be rewarded with the South African Proteas blazer by our Sports and Recreation Department.
‘Dance Culture’ brings attention to Courtnea Paul, who has become one of Africa’s most versatile dancers. In the documentary, the self-taught break-dancer from Durban addresses social media having its pros and cons. However, despite this, she has been able to make the best of her situation and has been one of the few Mzansi dancers to explore her other talents which include producing music through her EP ‘Got Next’ and being a DJ.
While the documentary makes it clear that South African dancers have had a major downfall due to the pandemic, it also brings out their optimistic energy. ‘Dance Culture’ has brought an understanding of how united Mzansi dancers are, how original they are and how, unlike any other dance culture in the world, nobody beats South African dance footwork.
Written by: Y