Giving dancers wings

2016-07-12 11:16
Lee Sophia Piedt was one of six dancers based in Cape Town to take part in Red Bull’s first BC One camp which was held in the city recently.

Lee Sophia Piedt was one of six dancers based in Cape Town to take part in Red Bull’s first BC One camp which was held in the city recently. (Bradley/Red Bull Content Pool)

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As she leaves the studio teeming with around 30 dancers, Lee Sophia Piedt places her “Nutribullet” container down to take time out to speak of her experience at Red Bull’s BC One camp.

Piedt, a Lansdowne resident, was one of six dancers from Cape Town to be selected to attend the camp, the first of its kind anywhere in the country.

She says the camp exceeded her expectations and has given her revived motivation to continue her quest to grow the culture of dance as a professional medium.

“I think people recognised that and they wanted me to be a part of it, because they know that the people I meet and teach, I influence a lot and that is why they asked me to come. I had my own idea of what it was about, but once I got there it was a completely different thing. If you are thinking of a camp, you think that we are just going to talk and bond, but it was definitely a lot more elevated and a lot more inspiring for me, because of what I am trying to do here in Cape Town regarding my own projects with dance,” exudes Piedt.

She explains that an all-round approach was taken during the camp, where everything from the nutritional aspect of dance, the culture and discipline of dance were discussed while also dealing with the challengers professional dancers face in the country, such as the lack of dance facilities for dancers to practice and train to work towards performing on stage and being professional dancers and artists.

“Being part of the camp I felt very respected, because at least there is someone paying attention to what it is we are doing here in South Africa. To be affiliated with Red Bull who support mainly hip-hop, for them to invite me – a contemporary and trained dancer – to the camp, I felt really special,” she adds.

Initially, Piedt was baffled that Red Bull invited her to an event she thought was out of her area of specialisation, but eventually understood the reasoning behind her inclusion.
“It was not just about dancing per sé, it was about the industry as a whole and how it is that we can empower ourselves as artists,” she says.

Piedt, through her company Loleepop DanceLife, runs the Cape Town Dance Boot Camp, which conducted a workshop at Wynberg High School during the school holidays, and says she has been fighting the stigma surrounding dance, which is not viewed as a viable career choice. But attending the camp has made Piedt realise that everything has come full-circle.

“They made me understand that everything that I have been fighting for is legitimate and is worthy for what it is that I want to do. I feel saddened by being in South Africa sometimes, because people still ask me what I really do and ask what my real job is.

“They don’t know that I have actually seen the world because of what I have done. Like every sports person or athlete, I was in class training and really committed to this craft. It is sad, because everyone’s perception of dance here it is still ‘oh no, it is a hobby, it is part-time’, whereas a lot of people are stuck in jobs just because they want to earn a cheque.

“I get to do what I love and I am earning money. I am getting to travel the world and I am getting to meet other people around the world who do exactly the same thing as me,” she says.
Piedt truly believes that dance has the power to unify people from all cultures.

“The beautiful thing about dance is that we all speak different languages, but when you put us in the studio together then we are the same people, because music and dance have the same heartbeat. Just because of that, I have more motivation to fight for the cause and culture here. Being part of the camp gave me an opportunity to witness that some people do respect and support us, so now it’s just the rest we need to convince.”

To find out more about Cape Town Dance Bootcamp, contact Lee Sophia Piedt on 079 515 8319 or send an email to lsp.loleepop@gmail.com

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