Dance Academy seeks financial assistance

By Rosalia David

EQUIPPED Dance Academy is seeking financial assistance after operating on a low budget for many years, said founder and choreographer Stanley Mareka.

“The pandemic has taught us to slow down and be selective with the best of the best and focus on more strategic planning but we cannot shy away from the fact that we are struggling. There is no financial support but with the little we have, we believe God is with us,” he said.

Despite the lack of financial support, Mareka said dancing in Namibia is however still struggling to gain the necessary exposure it deserves as it continues to be viewed as a hobby and not a possible fruitful career.

“We have a lot of young people that approach us wanting to sign up but they are afraid of their parents because they are told that dancing can never be an option. There is so much that needs to be done for dancing to be taken seriously,” he stressed.

He went on to say that, perhaps what has contributed to the lack of support from the public is the fact that local dancers also fail to bring some sort of uniqueness to their dancing moves.

Mareka said, most times, local dancers perform for free and copy popular dance moves from other countries lacking creativity. “We still have ‘free drinks’ dancers who will perform in exchange for alcohol, allowing the disrespect of dancers.”

He further stressed that it is high time dancers start seeing their worth through demanding for payment from any client they rendered their service to or refuse to be paid peanuts.

“Dancing is a talent like any other gift and the demand for dancers is out there, there is just no proper structure. Therefore, we are requesting for financial assistance so that we can turnaround our academy, not to enrich ourselves but for monthly logistics costs and to simply have a backbone that can help us reach our goal to develop the performance arts industry in the country,” Mareka said.

Equipped Dance Academy was established when Mareka won the 2008 Channel O Dance Africa competition, with the thrust of bringing dance culture closer to the youths.

The group specialises in urban dance styles such as hip-hop, freestyle, modern dance and Kwaito.

When they first started, he said the academy consisted of more than 20 members but due to financial constraints, the number decreased to 10.

“What we have been doing for now is approaching companies to help develop ‘Jerusalema staff team building projects’ where the staff members are taught a few dancing styles and dance to the song in a group … helps with team building,” he said.