Dance gives a person a very strong sense of identity, says Sonia Radebe of Moving Into Dance Mophatong, or MiDance. “It is a beautiful tool for a person to express themselves.”
She was speaking at a special dance class held at the company’s studios in Newtown, downtown Joburg, to celebrate women. “Seeing that it is Women’s Month, we felt that movement would be a good way to bring women from different backgrounds together and share the space as well as keep fit at the same time.”
MiDance Performance Company opened its doors to the public on Thursday, 8 August, inviting women to take part in a free two-hour dance class to mark their Women’s Month with a special experience. Around 30 women of different ages and backgrounds arrived at the studios, raring to have some fun and learn new dance moves.
Radebe, a professional dancer and choreographer at MiDance, wasted no time getting started and led the women through some rigorous warm up and stretching exercises to make sure they would get the most out of their time together. After the warm-up, Radebe taught the class a few basic dance movements and combinations, always emphasising the importance of maintaining proper posture and balance to avoid hurting themselves. It also helped to teach them body control.
She slowly turned up the heat, putting the women through their paces as the intensity of the moves increased along with the intricacy of the routines. It was necessary for them to take regular breaks for water and to catch their breaths.
Despite their inexperience, Radebe soon had the class doing moves that many of them admitted they would have never thought themselves capable of pulling off. Once they had the hang of it, they were able to enjoy their newfound dance skills by combining all the dance moves they had learned into one long routine to round off the class.
After the class, one of the participants, Elaine, who just wanted to be called by her first name, said: “I feel that it has been a really enriching experience. I got to push myself in ways that I never imagined I could.” A lucky draw was held for all the women who took part, and two won tickets to another free training and dance session.
Radebe explained that the idea of holding a dance class was to invite people from outside to come to the studios where they could get a better idea of what happened off stage as opposed to on stage, where people usually get to see dancers. They also got to experience MiDance’s Afrofusion, a unique blend of indigenous and contemporary cross-cultural South African dance, music and ritual with Western contemporary dance forms. And they got to celebrate the strength of South African women.