‘Dance transformed my life’

2017-02-01 06:01
Pietermaritzburg performer Bonwa Mbontsi practises some dance moves before teaching a dance fitness class. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

Pietermaritzburg performer Bonwa Mbontsi practises some dance moves before teaching a dance fitness class. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

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PIETERMARITZBURG performer and dance instructor Bonwa Mbontsi (27) sees our growing city as “a gold mine” of creative potential.

“I grew up in Richmond, but I have lived in Pietermaritzburg for just over a decade.

“I went to Maritzburg College and in Grade 11, and I tried out for the production Millennium Funk.

“I did not think I would make it, but I did and the dancing bug bit me and I trained as a contemporary dancer with some classical background.

“Pietermaritzburg is a small town, but it is charming with a lot of space, artistically speaking, to find yourself. With its arts and culture and history, this city is a gold mine. It has so much potential and it is sad to see people leaving.

“I was trained by Diane West and then invited by her to help teach BalletRIP, which uses the concept of ballet as fitness. It is revolutionary and a great initiative.

“What I love about dancing is that it is a fundamentally human form of self expression and brings people together.

“People use dance as a creative channel and a safe space for self expression.

“I teach dancing through an NGO at Slangspruit and Melmoth. It’s one of my joys. It’s my pride and my passion. It transformed my life and gave me hope. You’re able to help find platforms for children to perform at and publically display what they have learnt about.

“People are going towards theatre­ and drama more as mundane jobs are a threat because they are the beginning of automation.

“I want to break the stigma attached to dancing for boys. There’s a lack of understanding about that. The new generation is embracing artistic expression more.

“As an artist, people may go to Johannesburg or another big city to try and make it where it is busy all the time and everything has been established.

“Here it is all uncharted territory and there is so much to be discovered artistically.”

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