Dancing for sport

2010-07-02 00:00

A DYNAMIC DanceSport club in Pietermaritzburg is keen to attract new members and assistance to help it send its best dancers to competitions across the country.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal DanceSport team, which is based at the university’s Pietermaritzburg campus, regularly travels to ballroom and Latin American dance competitions in both KwaZulu-Natal and other parts of South Africa.

“We have been to competitions at Edgewood [Durban], in Newcastle, in the Ilembe district and elsewhere,” Njabulo Ndawonde, the group’s publicity officer said. “But we really need sponsorship to be able to attend the best competitions, the national ones where we can grow as dancers and network with other clubs and get tips on how they work.”

The university DanceSport team is affiliated to the Federation of DanceSport South Africa (Fedansa), which was formed in 1994 after the integration of former black and white dance structures in South Africa. It developed out of the narrow confines of ballroom dancing and today includes any dance style which has achieved internationally recognised competition level.

South African DanceSport has grown tremendously in the past few years, particularly in townships and rural areas, and includes standard ballroom dances like the waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, foxtrot and quickstep, and Latin American dances like the cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble and jive — all dance styles which will be familiar to those who enjoy watching shows like Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing with the Stars and more recently, e.tv’s Superdance South Africa.

Ndawonde, who is a first-year LLB student at UKZN, has been dancing since he was eight years old and believes these dance programmes have helped popularise DanceSport among the wider community.

His own first steps were taken in a community hall in The Grange. “My sister and I took it up, and it grew as a sport in our community. We got the club going and later incorporated it with a club at SOS Children’s Village,” he added. “I then joined the university club, and in the long term I would like to be dancing in a championship. I see myself and I see this club growing. It’s a dedicated club with a dedicated executive and dedicated members.”

The university club currently has 78 members, which includes seven competitive dance couples and five or six social dance couples. They have also begun a hip-hop group, which has between 20 and 25 members.

“We practise on Wednesdays and Fridays for competitions, and train with our coach, Mpho Kgatla from Durban, on Saturdays. The hip-hop classes are on Mondays. All the classes take place in the Malherbe residence dining hall,” Ndawonde said.

Asked why he thought people should take up DanceSport, the young dancer said: “I believe more people should be encouraged to do it. People always sit and watch us when the club performs — it’s great fun, a great form of exercise, helps you lose weight and keeps you fit.”

Classes cost R320, which includes transport to competitions, the federation fees and assistance with costumes. But the club is keen to be able to help members do more and for that it needs financial assistance. If you can help with sponsorship or would like to know more about the club, please phone Njabulo Ndawonde at 079 031 3913.

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