South African celebrity dancer and choreographer Paul Modjadji have hailed the immense talents of dancers on the continent, especially those participating in the Kellog’s Dance Africa Dance contest.
Kellogg’s Dance Africa Dance is Zee World’s first reality dance competition in Africa. Modjadji and Miss World India, Krsna-Priya Dasa are resident judges alongside guest judges including Big Brother’s Omashola Oburoh, Democratic Republic of Congo’s model and actor, Joe Kazadia and Zimbabwe’s media personality Chinyani amongst others.
The show, which aims to uncover the continent’s best dance team, premiered in September. African countries including Angola, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, DR Congo, Uganda, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are vying for honours. Two dance champions, one team and one solo winner will eventually be crowned.
Speaking in an interview on his experience as a judge on the show, Modjadji, the first African winner of the Dance Star World Masters Champion title, said the contestants had exceeded his imagination.
He said, “The experience has been more of a celebration than I had anticipated. I expected that it would be a far more demanding work scrutinising the dance crews’ technical and creative offerings every week, but far more than critiquing; it’s appreciating the vast talent our dancers have in exploring the fusion of Bollywood and African styles. It’s a challenge I’m happy to see the dancers are executing with prowess and excellence.”
Modjadji, who first visited Nigeria through the Africa Movie Academy Awards nomination for dance film, ‘Hear Me Move’, he choreographed and later, while filming the ‘Breaking Down Borders’ Africa Documentary’ series, also spoke with dealing with unsuccessful contestants.
He said, “Having to lose some of our dance crews in our semi-finale episodes is hard. Especially as some of them were beginning to really shine on the show and the dance floor, it proves that nothing is ever guaranteed in showbiz. But the beauty is that it’s an industry that allows many stars to reinvent themselves. I therefore never think of it as the end but rather until next time.”
Assessing dance in Africa generally, he said, “we are the hub of it all. From twerking, to South Africa’s Amapiano, West Africa’s Afrobeat, to the thousands of traditional dance styles across the continent, we are one of the richest continents in arts and culture. We are the melting pot of styles and movement. And no region on the continent is like the other. Top of mind is the Congolese waist line dance Kwasa, South Africa’s fast Pantsula footwork, and West Africa’s energetic and dynamic Afrobeat. There are different flavours to be referenced from each region in the continent, not to mention sub-cultures.”
Modjadji, recipient of South Africa’s Youth Award for Arts and Entertainment and Global Young Leaders Award from the Global Youth Leadership Congress in Washington DC, plans to visit Nigeria before the end of 2021.