Self-taught dancer defies the odds

’MAKERESEMESE LETUKA

MASERU – Tshepo David Dube, is a 22-year-old self-taught dancer and a professional street dancer born and bred in the Mountain Kingdom, and he has defied the odds through his talent as a youth. In an interview with Life&Style this week, Tshepo revealed that he started dancing at home in 2006 and decided to shelf his then favourite sport, football. At the time that his dancing career took off, there were unfortunately no dance studios, dance clubs or professional street dancers in the country, according to the young dancer.

“But a vibrant sea of dance crews and solo dancers in the streets was visible and making a statement.” Tshepo continued that before perfecting his Hip Hop moves, he only relied on Afro-dance styles because they were the in thing at the time. He added: “I loved dancing. I did not even know which style I danced but all I can say is I know that Afro-styles were all over the streets at that time.”

“Then I took a step to Hip Hop with my brother early in 2008/2009; he introduced me to Hip Hop dance and till today I have been focusing on Hip Hop dance even more because when I got to the Free State, in South Africa, I met dancers (Hip Hop dancers). “Then in 2016 I returned to Lesotho, and schooling in Maseru I was always dancing both at school and at home. I met dancers like Rethabile Mojakisane at that time, and he showed me a couple of things in dance,” he said.

“I did not perform well in school in 2017 and my results were unimpressive, this was not because of my love for dance however. Despite all this the fact that I loved dance remained. “I dropped out of school. Things were not well at home with my parents but dance saved my life, with my father and grandfather having my back…they didn’t give up on me. At this time my little brother and I created a dance crew called League of Shadows,” he told Life&Style.

In the same year Tshepo and his brother were invited to an event at ’Mabathoana High School, which was a music and dance competition in which he says they left the judges speechless even though they were not competing. The same year they took part in a T Mech music video ‘Keya Kena’, and in 2018 they won the best duo crew competing in a dance competition ‘Born to Move Lesotho’.

Tshepo says 2019 was the most successful year in his life after he and his little brother met one of the Ha Matala-based crews – 2Balls – featuring in their videos. They auditioned for Global Dance Supreme and qualified for the final in Randburg, Gauteng South Africa, even though they did not win. At this time Tshepo also joined Krump Fam (Sledge Fam from the USA owned by Lamar Sledge Jay) as well as the South African jaiva association owned by True Mosima (South African).

Tshepo continues that he has also been under the mentorship of Peter Paul Callaway who has been supporting him since 2019 to date. He adds that 2020 has, however, not been a good year for most dancers around the world but that he kept planning with Callaway on how to build Lesotho to have more professional street dancers.

The year 2021, he adds, was better for him as a professional though it was also still challenging because of the Coronavirus impact, but he managed to open a dance platform Called Brutal Arts. After Brutal Arts he opened another dance platform, South Region Krump and West Region Krump on Facebook.

“A friend of mine and I started ULC (Underdogs Lab Cort). This organisation is already operating in Europe and we are the first ones in Africa to push that in Lesotho! We prepared Tha Rumble in the community and on top we pushed under ULC in the community for free; I mentored and taught those kids with Thabo Motsoloane.”

His mentor, Callaway, introduced Tshepo to AshLlyroid Debout, one of the best dance journalists in Belgium (Europe). He created a dance African page to uplift street dance in Africa – the Facebook page is called World Dance Debout 1026. “My advice is never to give up on our dreams because in this world we have different gifts but you should follow your heart,” Tshepo said. “I will be on the panel that will choose dancers who will represent Lesotho 2022 in Johannesburg on April 30. The dancers that are going to represent Lesotho are Tankiso Thanne and Thabo Motsoloane.”

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