The closest some locals have been to the art of ballroom dance is through watching classic movies like Shall We Dance and Strictly Ballroom.
In reality only a few people have expressed interest in the art and fewer have even participated in social and competitive events.
Arts and Culture caught up with ballroom duo Seeletso Molatedi and David Moatlhodi who have represented the country on numerous events scooping the first position. This duo has been involved in the ballroom circles for the past 18 years as individuals and has spent a year as a dance couple.
Despite having participated at international level, the duo is disappointed and not satisfied with the standards of ballroom dance in the country. They have taken the first position on events such as June 16 Memorial Festival in Soweto and at the Gauteng Open Championship. “The standards are low in the country. That’s why we do not have much activities,” stated Moatlhodi, who said they have been hosting a ballroom dancing competition for the past four years which has been receiving a low response from the audience.
Apart the poor support that the ballroom dance is facing, the duo stated that the art is expensive to maintain, as they have to dig deep in their own pockets to organise events and register for participation at events.
“The dress that I will be wearing for our upcoming event is going for P10,000 and his costume is P4,000,” said Molatedi as she pleaded with government and the media to give them support by sensitising the general public about ballroom dancing.
“Ballroom dance needs support and more participation. It’s an art open to everyone despite your background. People should keep up with the times,” Moatlhodi said in defence against perceptions that the dance is uptown and classy.
He went on to say ballroom is an art that grooms one into a disciplined lady or gentleman. “Principles involved in ballroom dancing can help develop one into a well-mannered individual”.
He stated that they want to approach schools so that they can introduce the sport at grassroots levels. They are currently working with Rainbow School.
The duo, regarded as the only professional ballroom dance couple in the country, has gone to the extent of establishing a dance studio called Latin Dance Supastars where they are conducting ballroom dance lessons.
The dance studio has a mixture of young and old individuals.
Through their studio, they have managed to groom a number of dancers that have established themselves in the craft. Some of their dancers have performed at events such as Fete de Le Musique.
They are planning on sending some of their senior students to head new dance studios outside the capital city.
Due to financial constraints they do not have an established venue for Latin Dance Supastars dance studio but they make use of venues such as the Civic Centre. The pair’s upcoming performance is scheduled for November in South Africa.
Ballroom dancing involves a number of dance disciplines such as Tango, Fox Trot, Venice Waltz, Quick Step and The Waltz.