Dance allows you to become one will all elements
There’s much that’s left unsaid when we talk. There’s a lot that words fail to communicate, much that is best communicated silently, or perhaps as we’ll soon discover, physically. Dance, as hip hop self-taught dancer and instructor Allan Tumba says, allows you to be one with all elements, to express that which is inexpressible, through body movement. Here’s some visual aid:
Allan combines various styles of dance to create a unique ensemble of acrobatic, pop and hiphop energies, and this strange but wonderful mix always makes for an unforgettable performance. I met up with Allan to discuss his love for dance, his history and to find out more about this pure form of expression that is dance. Here is what came out of our meeting:
When did you start dancing?
I started dancing in 2007, it wasn’t serious at the time. I began to take it seriously in 2009
And how exactly did you begin dancing, do you have any particular influences?
[Laughs] Actually, in my last year of primary school, I used to get bullied, and dance came as a kind of redemption. I wanted to be cool. One of the most popular kids in school was a dancer and I saw that as an instrument
And you fell in love with dance there-after?
Yes, dance became bigger than a hobby later on, it allowed me to express myself fully, I could become one will all elements, I could tap into other dimensions. [Laughs]
How would you define your style of dancing?
It’s like water.. “be water my friend”[quotes Bruce Lee] … I can adapt to any style: tricking, bboying, popping, I aim to express myself as fully as possible. I don’t limit my style.
Do you create your own choreographies?
Yes, and often I watch other dancers and choreographers for inspiration.
How often do you train?
5 days a week, 6 hours a day.
That sounds tough man! Thinking of dance as you do, what do you feel is the Rwandan attitude towards dance, hiphop especially?
At some point, dance was considered popular among teenagers especially but they didn’t take it very seriously. So people began not to pay it much attention. There are however few people that do take dance seriously, and so at the moment we, as dancers are in dark times but I believe that because we dance for pleasure, we accomplish our purpose, which is to express ourselves completely!
And in these dark times, as you just mentioned, is it possible to make a living from dancing?
Yes, it is but it takes dedication, it takes hours and hours of practice to perfect your steps and movement. So yes, it’s possible.
In addition to your dance career, you train kids, yes?
Yes I train kids between 5 and 18 years old at Club Rafiki in collaboration with Indigo foundation. The kids I train are able to develop a strong work ethic through dance. In addition to the dancing, I teach them life skills like protecting themselves from HIV, preventing unwanted pregnancies and so on.
Wow, and do you feel that your impact on these kids’ lives is felt?
Yes, I want them to be seen as not just dancers but as educated artists. I’m proud of my work because these kids go into their communities and transfer the life skills they learn at the dance club to their friends and family.
Very Inspiring! And what are your future plans?
I’m currently majoring in Management and so I intend to graduate. [laughs] I also intend to organize dance workshops. And possibly, performances out of the country would be great as well. My biggest aspiration is to start a dance academy here in Rwanda.
That’s actually a great idea! I think Kigali could use a dance academy. And when you’re not dancing, what else do you spend your time doing?
[laughs] Gaming, reading comic books, I consider myself a geek, despite the dancer look which I maintain.
I would have never guessed that! Oh, and before we end, do explain the meaning of your logo and your name ‘black superman’
BlackSuperman is a symbolic word and so is the logo. It’s a reminder to remain strong through dark times.
My meeting with Allan left me feeling inspired, he’s able to balance college with his love for dance and his many aspirations. What I found refreshing the most was how he’s able to use dance as a tool to teach kids important life skills.
Do checkout his social media channels to support his vision!
Mutsinzi writes prose & code. He also hangs out on mutsinzi.com