Cape Town - We may only beginning the new decade, but now dancer and choreographer Rudi Smit has ensured the new year is off to a groovy start with his latest dance video on social media.
Smit, 27, grabbed everyone's attention when his dance video set to Meghan Trainor's Me Too went viral three years ago. The video, which now sits above 1 million views, was trending on social media at the time, and even go back to the singer who posted it.
Since then the choreographer has been consistently making high-quality dance videos that grabs everyone's attention, and has even been partnering up with a few brands. While he has gained over 1.7 million views on his YouTube channel, over 6 000 likes on Facebook, his biggest audience is on Instagram with over 30 000 followers paying attention to what he does.
It's been a long and interesting journey for Smit who started dancing at 9, and his introduction to dance began in the most unexpected of place – SA talent search show, Coca Cola Pop Stars.
"My love for dance developed very naturally and unexpectedly," Smit said.
"When the group 101 won Coca Cola Pop Stars in 2002, they had done a debut performance that was aired on SABC 3 which I happened to watch... From there I just fell in love with it. My parents recorded that entire performance on VHS. I would come home from school everyday, put the tape in and learn all the steps. I started having little 'concerts' in the lounge for my family where I would dance for them and eventually when I reached the age of 12 I mustered up the courage to dance in front of my school for the first time."
Smit, who has been dancing for 18 years, added that YouTube played a big role in his love of dance. It was the ability to see other dancers from across the world performing and sharing what they were doing, which eventually led to him starting his channel and dance company.
"In my opinion, dance videos had become increasingly popular from 2009 onwards.
"I eventually had the dream of putting together my own company and doing the same thing. I was also super inspired by the popular dance movies like Honey, You Got Served, Step Up etc. I loved the creativity behind it and just the whole process of putting together a dance video. I have been releasing dance videos on YouTube from as young as 12, so it was something I always connected with."
Smit, who is the founder of Untimitive Dance Company, is now also nurturing young dance talent in Cape Town, which he often includes in the dance videos that he manages to create.
"It started out as videos of just me and then as my company started to grow, I started to put together videos with my company and smaller crews that I had created prior to my company coming together.
"There was always someone out there who believed in me as I was growing up and who saw something in me that they thought carried potential. So, granted that I was very ambitious from a young age and did a lot of the ground work myself, I had a few people who were in my corner and who supported me and helped guide me. I want to be exactly that for them.
"Someone who helps them and guides them and makes them know that they can achieve what they wish to achieve in the industry if they work hard for it and have the right tools to help carry them through," he said.
"I also make these videos as a means of creating opportunities in the industry not only for myself, but for them as well. It also creates awareness around who they are as individuals and opens up separate opportunities in the industry for them."
When crafting his impressively executed dance videos - which he pulls of with the assistance from cinematographer and editor Dylan Pereira, and Willem Botha who he says has "been an instrumental part of the editing process" - Smit explained it was not as easy as it looked but inspiration, rehearsals and dedication played a big part in the process.
"It can be quite long and drawn out or quite quick and easy. Once I am inspired by a song the choreography just flows quite naturally in rehearsals. Sometimes our rehearsals have to be split over a number of days or weeks due to everyone's availability. Or sometimes – like in the case of our most recent video – we were all available in that time frame.
"We had three rehearsals (18 hours total) and shot the video the very next day. Starting at around 9am and ending at around 7:30pm. We shot the entire video in that one day. Took a break for a couple of days due to Christmas, and then edited over the space of 12-16 hours and released the video," Smit said.
"In the case of Me Too for instance, we had four rehearsals that were split over four weekends (due to availability of the company) and then did two full day shoots because we weren't able to get all the shots we needed due to location and lighting.
"It all depends on the situation and everyone's availability."
Smit added that this year he hoped to put out more videos as he "absolutely love creating" them because finds himself "fortunate to have a company that works incredibly hard and at a very professional level".
He also hopes to show more of Untimitive Boys and Untimitive Girls as separate entities this year; not only on stage and in video projects but to also get them involved in opportunities where they get to travel and work with him abroad.
"I really would love for us to get to the point where we are being recognized a lot more on an international front and get to be involved in international projects with brands and artists that we would love to work with.
"I also have some South African artists that are still on my bucket list that I would love to create content for with my company."