We have feelings too! I guess you already knew that.
It is intense! It is difficult! Every muscle in your body is strained but you have to maintain the perfect form and technique, whilst focusing on every individual move. In order to teach it, you need to know it in order for students to get it. You need to demonstrate, and demonstrate well. Dance is so practical! The fake it till you make it phenomenon does not exist in our industry, even so for teachers. You have to physically show the stages your mind goes through when executing a movement, make explicit the insanity of your mind when thinking of, and executing, 20 different moves and corrections at the same time. It is my belief that students have to go through this together with their teacher, in order to know how to deal with the pressures of either performing or teaching themselves. I also share with my students the joy I feel when I pull off a top-drawer move and exceed expectations. I feel it is critical for teachers to take their students down this fantastic journey of discovering these emotions.
When I’m teaching either at the studio or in schools, I feel like I have a greater purpose in life. Teaching cultural African dance fulfills me, or in Jerry McGuire style, ‘Completes me’. Be it teaching theory, demonstrating a step or watching my students shine on stage, I forget everything else around me, including all the bad in the world, which allows me to solely focus on speaking without using words. Yes, dance helps me find my centre, and manipulating the body into patterns that tell a story people can relate to really is, speaking without words. It is always like dance is coming from the deepest part of my soul. Such is the power of art, and it is true that life imitates art.
I am extremely passionate about cultural African dance styles from the various countries on the continent. It is important that this passion filters through my teaching methods and that my students (professional or amateur) feel this passion and feed off of it to create this big energy. So whether I am going through a difficult time or I am super happy, this needs to come out in my classes. This year’s Intswasa Festival in Bulawayo is running under the theme ‘Expression’ and Resdon and his team could not have chosen a better name. Dance is about not holding back because we experience freedom when we liberate our minds, then and only then can we express ourselves. We certainly hope our performance team Tamba Africa Ensemble will be chosen to participate this year because the concept we have developed fully embraces ‘Expression’.
Imparting knowledge allows me to refresh my mind. I feel like I’m telling stories with my body. It’s heaven!
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