It has always been raised an issue that dance is not taken seriously as a sustainable career in South Africa. That has prompted people like 25-year-old Zimbabwean born dancer, Mullin Krienke, to stand up and start an organisation that promotes dancing in various ways. Dance Avenue is a new company that touches on everything dance-related, including teaching, collaborating with musicians, promoting dance crews, filming dance competitions and workshops. HYPE caught up with Mullin to find out more about his company and his journey as a dancer.
Tell us a bit about Dance Avenue.
Dance Avenue is an organisation using different avenues to unite people through dance and build a bigger and broader dance community socially and professionally. We are developing a higher respect for the art of dance, the culture and the industry.
Okay, so how do you aim to unite people through dance?
At the moment our main focus is social media. We use all forms of social media to reach people from all walks of life. The youth of today thrive off social networking and we target them specifically.
What inspired you to establish the initiative?
I found that there was no information zone for dancers, let alone a dance brand that covered all forms of dance under one umbrella. We realised that we could provide a kind of cross pollination of information between not just dancers but the ordinary person on the street that just loves the art and culture of dance.
Do you go out to different communities or do you have studios you operate from?
We do a little bit of both; we work with several studios such as Dance Web Studios, The Dance Studio and Stage Worx Performing Arts School. We are currently starting projects in the south of Johannesburg, at schools and community centres.
What type of dance does Dance Avenue specialise in?
We specialise in all forms from hip hop and ballroom to latin, contemporary, ballet, tap, s’bujwa and pantsula. The list goes on.
Where do you see Dance Avenue in 5 years?
I see Dance Avenue as one of the leading dance brands in not just South Africa but Africa as a whole.
Any sponsors you’re involved with?
At the moment we are an independent brand and don’t have any official sponsors. We are, however, in talks with associations and brands that I am not at liberty to discuss as yet.
Okay. Now let’s talk about you. When did you start dancing?
I started dancing at the age of three. I grew up in a church environment where I danced at church in a group called the INMATES Dance Crew. It is one of the biggest names to come out of the Zimbabwean dance industry. I then moved to South Africa in 2008.
Any other projects you’ve worked on before?
I’ve done the Zimbabwe NAMA awards and HIFA Arts Festival. In South Africa I’ve done numerous adverts for brands like Vodacom, and Jet, as well as Samsung road shows. I was also one of the choreographers for the Castle Lite Kanye West experience that happened last year.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Having to move from Zimbabwe which has a smaller dance industry and having to start all over again here.