Imagine learning the beautiful, gliding dance style called the Waltz or doing the sexy Latin dance, a form of dance that requires one to move the hips with a smouldering flair to upbeat music; these are just two forms of dancing that is quickly gaining popularity at the Durban University of Technology (DUT).
For DUT’s Nonhlanhla Mbatha, finance officer: Student Housing, along with her dancing partner, Siyathemba Biyela, her graceful Waltz moves earned her the title of first position at the Latin American South African Dance Championships which were held at Sun City, Johannesburg, last December. She took home the trophy and certificate in the category: Standard/ Ballroom Adult Level 2.
Within two weeks, Mbatha and her partner had to learn the moves for the ballroom section of the competition and were chuffed with their win, despite having to train in a confined space with no proper coach and not having the right and up-to-date clothing items for the competition.
The dynamic Mbatha has always been involved in sports such as netball but when the opportunity came to learn and participate in ballroom dancing socially, she welcomed the chance and knew immediately that this dancing sport was her new ‘calling’.
“I started dancing at the Pietermaritzburg campus socially and fell in love with it. From there on I dropped netball and took up ballroom dancing, then competed in the SALGA Games and came third in the competition. After five years, I took part in this competition, last year, and I guess it goes by remembering the correct steps and at the same time enjoying the dance sport, which is what I did. Winning was just the best part for me,” she said excitedly.
Other winners at the competition were in categories: Professional Latin: First position-Mpho Kgatla (DUT 2017 dance coach) and Miss Christine Fritsch
Championship Latin: Second position- Brain Booth and Londeka Lasenarita ( DUT PMB), Mfundo Khoza and Boniswa Gazu were in the sixth position.
The special section called Dance Log Ladder for 20 couples had Mfundo Khoza and Boniswa Gazu placed in the fifth position. They now have the opportunity to represent South Africa in Russia. The KwaZulu-Natal province was placed was second overall for team match and formation.
Also DUT was placed second in the competition overall in the USSA 2017 earlier in July last year.
“Ballroom is a great sport. It’s fun, social and will keep you fit, but most importantly, the aim is to have fun. However, the dance sport comes with some challenges, especially financially, and the trip to the competition would not have been possible without the generosity of Dr Sakiwo Tyiso from the Department of Art and Culture in Pretoria, who assisted us with the transport and accommodation at Sun City. Our motto is that everyone can dance, that is what we believe. We are hoping for this year, 2018, more people will join us on the dance floor. People need to recognise it as a sport because the dance itself requires discipline and improves character and emotions. Dance classes are done twice a week for beginners and for us, amateurs, it is up to five days a week, depending on the availability of people,” she added.
Her main gripe is the issue of funding, as there is a need to obtain the right coach, costumes, shoes and accessories, as well as a budget for going to and from competitions if out of the KwaZulu-Natal province.
The dance club members are available to perform at a price at fundraising events at DUT or for corporate events. If there are any departments, individual persons willing to contribute any financial help or are able to sponsor the right clothing, infrastructure for dance classes and competitions, they are urged to contact Mbatha on 031 373 2491 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured: DUT’s Nonhlanhla Mbatha, finance officer: Student Housing, along with her dancing partner, Siyathemba Biyela, w0n first prize at the Dance Championships in 2017.