SA dance maestro heads for Lesotho

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Mohalenyane Phakela

TWO-TIME World Dance Champion, Paul Modjadji, will finally visit Lesotho from 13 to 17 February to scout for a talented Mosotho dancer who will compete at the Dance Star World Masters in Porec, Croatia, from 22 to 28 May 2017.

The auditions will be held on 14 February at either Alliance Francaise or Girl Guides Association in Maseru depending on the number of people who will attend the event.

On 15 February, the South African will host master classes at Machabeng College for Maseru youth in the morning and then Cana High School in Berea in the afternoon. On the 16th he will tour Mohale Dam before visiting different foster homes in Maseru on the 17th.

Dance has taken Modjadji to the major capitals of the world where he has entertained world leaders and international celebrities. In 2011, he made history by becoming the first African dancer to win the European Dance Star World Championships in the solo jazz category. He celebrated his 10th anniversary as a professional dancer in 2015 and thereafter began a tour of 10 African countries in search of 10 dance champions.

Modjadji was supposed to have visited Lesotho last December as part of his Breaking Down Borders Tour from August to December which included nine other African countries. However, the Lesotho visit had to be postponed due to unavoidable circumstances.

The tour began in Zimbabwe in August 2016 with seven other stops in Zambia, Nigeria, Namibia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal. Only the Democratic Republic of Congo and Lesotho were not visited as scheduled.

The plan was to visit the capital city of each country, a remote town and a heritage site. Talented dancers would be selected from each country’s workshop. One Lesotho winner will join the eight others to form Team Africa who will compete at the Dance Star World Championships in Croatia in May.

“The delays were caused by logistical challenges with some of our key destinations we visited,” Modjadji told the Weekender this week, adding, some countries required visas which was a lengthy process and flights got cancelled at times, a development that affected other tour dates including Lesotho.

“We are excited to finally make our way to Lesotho.

“We have visited eight countries to date and the experience has not only been fulfilling but life changing.

“To witness the talent that is brewing and thriving in Africa and to have the unique opportunity to learn about each country’s history is a special experience that will remain with the Breaking Down Borders team and me for years to come.”

He said the talent exceeded his expectations and “to see stories told through dance is one of the most beautiful privileges one can experience. I cannot wait for the world to see some of the talent we have in Africa”.

“I expect to be moved and inspired by the talent in Lesotho. I know that South African and Lesotho share a very special and close relationship; I look forward to learning more about the Basotho people through dance expression.

“The dance workshops and the Dance Star World Masters Auditions will be open to the general public regardless of age and gender.

“The audition will entail a minute and a half solo routine of the dancer’s music and dance style of choice.  They are all expected to come prepared with their dance routine and music,” he said.

He said they would also screen his film, Hear Me Move.

This film explores the world of dance in South Africa and was directed by Modjadji. It has won awards such as Best Score SAFTA (South African Film and Television Awards), Best Score and Best Script at the Kalasha Awards in Kenya as well as Best Editing African Academy Movie Awards (Nigeria). It has also screened at different film festivals in America and Europe.

 

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