BY KIMBERLY KARIATI
ALENTED singer and dancer Beauty “StimyBee” Katiji said she has taken her passion for dance to the streets by recruiting young talent into the world of dancing through her StimyBee Dance Factory.
StimyBee said the initiative is meant to help curb drug abuse, early marriages and unwanted pregnancies.
She believes dance unites, brings peace and keeps young girls occupied, making them independent during natural disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Born in a family of five musicians among them famous singer and bassist Edith WeUtonga, Fatima Stimela (who is Jah Prayzah’s dance and vocalist), StimyBee said she seeks to bring life to Zimbabwean dance and make it not only a recognised art, but a way to put the country on the international scene.
Venturing into showbiz
“I started dancing at Founders High School. At Advanced Level at Nkulumane High School, I was given the opportunity to lead my school choir and drama club.”
“After school, I then joined my sister Edith WeUtonga who moulded me to be the artist I am today. I am a back-up singer and dancer for the band Utonga.”
“In 2016, I met Plot Mhako who invited me to join Jibilika Dance Trust. This is where I perfected my dancing skills. I was later hired for video shoots.”
“I got to meet the likes of Simba Gee, Tocky Vibes, Vimbai Zimuto, Andy Muridzo, Tammy Moyo and Huby Blakes. In 2019, I worked with a group of girls from my school which featured on Unombozviitirei by Alexio Kawara.”
Birth of dance school
“In 2020, COVID-19-induced lockdown hit the universe, but I did not want to stop working despite the outbreak. I looked around and noticed there was a huge number of young girls and boys idling around and some taking drugs while many of the young girls were engaging in relationships.”
“I decided to call them for a dance, to my disbelief a huge number of kids showed up and that was the birth of my StimyBee Dance Factory. I teach kids from the age of five to 25 years how to dance from scratch, giving them any opportunity to appear on music videos.”
“As of now, the kids have appeared on stage and videos for various artistes such as Leonard Zhakata and United Kingdom-based Minister Patience.”
“Currently, StimyBee has two bases in Mabvuku and another one in Braeside in Harare.”
Importance of dance
“From my experience through my StimyBee Dance Factory, dance has become a language to my kids as they manage to stay away from drugs, teenage pregnancy and early marriages.”
“With the help of the ministries that deal with arts and culture in pushing for events such as dance festivals, will show the importance of dance rather than dancers to be seen in music videos only.”
“Such events will be able to remove the assumption that male dancers are poor and female dancers are prostitutes.”
Misconceptions on female dancers
“A lot of people still prefer to work with male dancers rather than females. Sometimes the girl child is in danger of being used or courted in the name of being made famous. The assumption is that just because one is a dancer, she automatically becomes a prostitute.”
Dance and education
“Dance is like any other co-curriculum activities at school. If a parent or guardian identifies talent in their child, one should push them in that direction and with good support even at school they will do exceptionally well.”
“As I watch the kids, I look forward to pushing them to international recognition and inspire other people out there.”
“I would not say I do not have failures because each fall led me to a greater success, so I will not say there were no failures.
“For the past five years, I have managed to work with a number of artistes and also managed to tour countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco and Zambia.”
“Last year, I established my own StimyBee Dance Factory which is a huge success in my career as a dancer.”
“Dance is like any other forms of art practised out there. I would be grateful if the Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation ministry has a policy that specifically looks at dancers so that they are given support just like what is happening to musicians and other arts genres.”
“Also funding, the way they do for sports and currently as dancers we have an organisation called National Dancers Association of Zimbabwe which I am a board member and this organisation seeks to stand for the dancers and we hope and pray that we will manage to uplift the dancers in the country.”
Follow Kimberly on Twitter @lizellekimkari