TWO-TIME World Dance Champion, Paul Modjadji says local dancers must collaborate and form groups to realise their aim of international recognition.
Modjadji said this while addressing local dancers who recently attended his auditions at a local hotels in Maseru. The auditions were held to select a Mosotho dancer who will join nine other Africans to form a team to compete at the Dance Star World Masters from 22 to 28 May 2017 in Croatia.
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.
The South African 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.
And during the interactive conversation with local dancers, he stressed the importance of hard work, dedication and commitment in order to gain recognition from government and other stakeholders.
“Government and other stakeholders have to recognise you to promote you but it starts with you (artistes) and you have to prove that you deserve the chance,” Modjadji said.
“To be taken seriously, you have to work as a group and you could start by hosting shows as a dance community so that they see your efforts. There are also many platforms such as social media where you can promote yourselves.
“My visit to Lesotho was made possible by the government of South Africa and not because I shined on my own but we worked as a team of dancers to prove that we are capable. In South Africa, whenever there is a big ceremony, they use local dancers and choreographers and you have to work hard to reach that level. If you are not good enough you will not make it.”
He further urged the dance community to charge for their performances, saying, “If you have more than two years as a dancer you should not be performing for free anymore because it is no longer about getting exposure”.
“You lose nothing if you refuse to perform for free,” he said, adding, “Ensure you grow together by teaching each other different styles so that you can be market competent”.