This week CNN’s, Arit Okpo visited local Durban dancers on the show "African Voices Changemakers".
Okpo spoke to Flatfoot Dance Company founded and award winning dancer, Lliane Loots about the company using dance to uplift the younger generation.
“What we try and do as a company is not hold ourselves originally to a technique or a training system. But to kind of find a way to use all these languages and body knowledge to create a system to tell the stories that we want to tell in the body.”
Zinhle Nzama, one of the company’s senior dancers, spoke about the impact Loots has had on all of the dancers.
“She's a very humble human being. She is a mother. She's a friend. Yes, she is the boss, but she's a mother. She's everything.”
This focus on family is why outreach has become such an important part of the dance company. Members of the dance troop teach free classes in primary schools, giving children access to not only dance, but also important advice.
Jabu Siphika, a senior dancer said this outreach programme will teach kids self respect and discipline.
The things that have passed through the kids that we teach is to be self-respect and discipline. I think as a human being, you can’t do anything nice in your community if you don't respect yourself first. If you don't have a discipline in yourself first. So, you have to have a respect in you in order to give to other people.”
Flatfoot dancers also travel to rural villages to spread their message to underprivileged children.
Petro Vorster, a local resident, explained how Flatfoot’s dancing has influenced children in the region.
“So the children that are part of this dance program you can pick out from a crowd. They've got more self-confidence, their imaginations are just so much more vivid, they take initiative, so the program really develops them exponentially. It’s amazing."
Nzama, Siphika and their fellow senior dancer Sifiso Khumalo, are happy to earn a living doing what they love, but they all agree that dancing has given them something more important than money.
Siphika explains their feelings, “I have learned so much first thing about myself, about how to talk to me. Yes, about how to control myself. Because as dancers, we learn those things. You have to humble yourself. You have to work hard. You have to know your story at the same time, you have to passionate about what you do.”
Flatfoot Dance Company. Picture: Supplied
The dancers at Flatfoot are using their talent to change the lives of disadvantaged children. Khumalo and Nzama sum up their mission, saying, "We wish like everybody else in the world was a dancer or an artist. If everybody was just dancing, this would be a very beautiful world," they added.