Byo dancer buoyed by criticism

SNEAK PEEK :Sharon Sibindi

DYNAMITE comes in small packages is the best way to describe award-winning dancer Dadirai Mupandawana, a member of the high-flying Ezimnyama Dance Ensemble. Strong-willed and focused, the 27-year-old Mupandawana is breaking barriers. She recently won the Outstanding Female Dancer award during the 19th edition of the National Arts Merit Awards held in Harare. Mupandawana says she has faced many challenges, including negative criticism, but turned it into positive energy to succeed. NewsDay (ND) Life & Style reporter Sharon Sibindi recently caught up with Mupandawana (DM), who spoke about her life in the fast lane of dance. Below are excerpts of the interview…

ND: Can you tell us more about yourself. Who is Dadirai?

DM: Dadirai Mupandawana is a lady who is 27 years old and the first born in a family of three. I was born in Bulawayo, but I come from Masvingo.

ND: How did you get into dancing?

DM: I started when I was young, at primary level, and I later joined a group from Nkulumane called Inkanyezi. I was recognised by Phibion Ncube, the director of Ezimnyama Dance Ensemble where my talent was groomed.

ND: What have been some of your most memorable experiences?

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DM: I was in Italy in 2015 representing Zimbabwe where I was with other artistes from different provinces. I got a chance to learn different dances which are from this country.

ND: What challenges have you faced as a female artiste?

DM: I have faced challenges like

criticism, but this didn’t pull me down.

ND: How did you overcome those?

DM: Also one needs to be disciplined and know what their goals are in the arts industry because us females are more vulnerable.

ND: Any new projects you are working on?

DM: I am working on an international project and we are going as Ezimnyama. We are also working on songs which we will present.

ND: What is your word of advice to other young women who would want to venture into dance?

DM: All I can say is don’t be afraid to showcase your talent because it develops you and your future. Do what you are good at. If you have passion for it, go for it and don’t be discouraged by what people say.

ND: Does dancing pay in Zimbabwe? How are you managing to survive in this harsh economy as a dance artiste?

DM: At times I don’t mind what’s coming into my pocket. I am the survival of the fittest kind of person, so this economy will never stop me from doing what I love. It will bring me a good future and patience pays off.

ND: You recently won a Nama. How does it feel and is it the first award or you have won other awards before?

DM: This is a lifetime achievement for me. I have been desiring this for some years and my prayer has been answered. I am so grateful, honoured, blessed and favoured.

ND: Besides being involved in dance, what else do you do in your line of work?

DM: I do workshops at schools for Jikinya and last year I was at Mabhukudwana Primary School.

ND: Your parting shot?

DM: Great work pays off! Don’t be too lazy. Express yourself and be a role model. Groom others and share what you have.

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