Hout Bay dancer keeps the passion and love alive by teaching kids
From humble beginnings, he said from a young age he had been blessed with the ability to dance and overcome adversity.
“Being born into a family with four brothers and one sister, and with my flamboyant style, from a young age I always felt different. I even saw the inside of a jail cell after being thrown in prison for wearing a blue, satin suit.
"I was constantly teased for my dress sense and was always harassed for doing what I loved, which was dance,” he said.
Koopman, a modern and classical ballet dancer who has performed on the world stage, said it was through this journey that he evolved into a modern dance teacher.
“I place a big emphasis on teaching the kids morals and the right way to do things. Music and dance are my passion. They kept me away from drugs sexual abuse and crime, and that is something I want the kids I teach to understand.
"It is not just about teaching them dance; it is also about teaching them self-discipline and commitment,” he said.
Despite success in teaching and making a contribution to the lives of many children, Koopman said he needed financial support to continue his classes.
“I taught millions of kids over these 35 years of professional teaching of modern, contemporary, creative movement, hip hop, choreography across communities.
"I also taught kids from Langa, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and the Hout Bay Harvest Youth Foundation for free, but no longer can do it without the income of a salary and rental paid for an equipped space,” he said.
Hout Bay ward councillor Roberto Quintas said Koopman’s life orientation-type programmes, centred around the disciplines of classical ballet, would be of great value to the youth, both boys and girls, in the community.
“I met with Mr Koopman earlier this week, and I was amazed by his passion and principles regarding both dance and his value system, which he is committed to sharing with the youth.
"I would be very happy to see this project happening in Hout Bay and to see an integrated space for all the youth of our various communities come together and where they can benefit from the classical dance environment,” said Quintas.
Koopman can be contacted at 072 100 7170.