Yvonne Ncube, Showbiz Correspondent
DANCE is a strong impulse, but the art of dance is how talented dancers can channel that urge into something that becomes profoundly expressive and may excite onlookers who don’t experience the urge to dance themselves.
This is a description of the narrative of Mandisa Khensani Maseko, the girl who supposedly started dancing in her mother’s womb and whose exhilarating energy with the powerful kicks is still remembered today.
Emerging as a ballet dancer at the age of eight, Mandisa is now storming the dance world under the stage name Storm.
Her amazing dance moves have attracted the masses earning her a large social media following, so much for a girl who just has the wildest dreams.
If you thought the sky was the limit, you haven’t encountered the Storm, which has encroached and gone beyond the skies.
She dances to see smiles on other people’s faces.
“My mother claims I began dancing before I was born because I used to kick her in the tummy a lot. I’m not sure whether that’s correct, but I must say that I’ve always enjoyed dancing. If anything, I believe I was brought into this world to dance and be the greatest version of myself that I can be, as well as to convey hope to people who are discouraged.
“In order to allow myself to enjoy and bring joy to others, I turned to dance, the one thing that I know I’m good at. I continue to do my best to keep excelling at it so that young girls from my generation and younger can see that when we work hard, we can achieve anything no matter what we’re going through,” she said.
Storm was born in South Africa where she did her primary education.
“I did part of my primary education at Montrose Primary School for my earlier grades in Sandton, South Africa. That’s where my mother enrolled me in ballet classes in Grade three after realising how much I loved to dance. We then moved to the beautiful tourist town, Hartbeespoort in the North West where I did Grade Five to Seven at Doxa Deo Private School. It was at this school that I took up acrobatics and modern dance classes with Rising Star Academy.
“It was during these formative years that I realised how much I loved to dance. Besides these dance classes at school, I used to watch Destiny’s Child music videos religiously and I had a deep love for musicals such as Camp Rock and TV shows like Hannah Montana and High School Musical. I even got my mum to buy me themed duvet covers which I still have today because I was so obsessed with these music-themed shows,” Storm said.
She said watching music videos played a significant role in her maturity in the field of dance.
“Music videos and concerts, especially those of Beyonce and Chris Brown, have helped me a lot. I think I knew back then that one day, I’d be a dancer just like the beautiful ladies featured dancing in music videos or on the stage. I remember one time when I was enrolled to participate in a dance competition when I was in Grade 7. I prepared very hard.
“One of the requirements was that all participants should put the track they were going to dance to on a CD. I did that with my mother and on the day of the competition, I was so nervous, that I thought I was going to throw up. I watched others dance and when it was my turn I walked onto the stage hoping that my nervousness would not show.
“I stood on the stage and waited for my track to start playing, but it never did. I don’t know what went wrong with my song. I was still standing on stage, all eyes on me, nervous out of my boots and wondering what I should do. After about 10 minutes, the judges announced that I’d dance to another track and within seconds, a song I had not practised for started playing,” Storm narrated.
Despite dancing to a song she had not practised for, Storm said she still managed to walk away with a first-class grade.
“I was put on the spot and had to improvise and come up with a new dance routine as I was dancing.
The minute my feet started moving, I danced to the beat and surprised even myself because apparently,
I gave the best performance the judges had ever seen. I walked away proudly with an A+ on my certificate.
“I think this experience truly opened my eyes to just how capable I was. It also gave me confidence and boosted my self-esteem because I realised that with dancing, not even the sky can be the limit for me.
When I finished Grade seven, I then moved to stay with my lovely grandparents here in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe,” she said.
Storm said she started spending more time watching videos on YouTube.
“I started school at Masiyephambili College and while there, I participated in school modelling and dancing shows. I also spent a lot of time on YouTube watching different dancers and trying to teach myself different styles and techniques. I tried to start my own dance crew in 2016, but I didn’t get far.
“I was, however, always being asked by different dance crews to dance with them which I did and loved every second of it. But my heart fell for Megatronz Empire because of its gospel-centred approach. I haven’t looked back since I joined the crew in 2017,” she said.
She is the only female in the six-member group.
“As a member of Megatronz Empire, I’ve participated in shows and competitions such as Believers Boppers Dance Battles where we won; Globe Dance Supreme; The Hype Event; and many others to name a few. Along with my crew members, I’ve also been featured in music videos for artistes like Winky D, Enzo Ishall, Nkwali, Decibel, Sweet Mobby and Leticia Ontle.
“My crew has also performed at many concerts around the city of Bulawayo with regional artistes such as Young Stunna.”
Passionate about modelling, Storm hopes to one day hit the runway.
“I’m very passionate about ensuring that young girls focus on their dreams and do everything in their power to achieve their dreams. If I can be that one person who ignites some ray of light and hope in a young girl’s life, then I’ll be fulfilled. God puts us on the planet for different reasons and I think He gave me the ability to move my feet so that I can bring about change in the lives of those who come after me,” she said.
Despite being the perfect dancer, Storm said she still wishes to further her education and become a criminal lawyer.
“I still have many dreams for myself and I have a vision for my life ahead. I want to become a criminal lawyer and I will do it. While I wait to go to university, I’ll continue to use dance as a means of sharing the message that God is alive and wants us to be the best that we can be.
“As young people, we don’t need drugs or alcohol nor should we engage in criminal activities or other socially unacceptable behaviours. Our dreams are valid and we can achieve much in this life as long as we put our heart and mind to it. Nothing is impossible. It may be extremely difficult, but it can never be impossible,” she said.
Her vision to become a lawyer may soon come to pass as she has been accepted by a university overseas.
“I’ve been accepted overseas and should have started last year, but unfortunately, besides delays caused by Covid-19, I’m also still waiting for my passport to come out. I remain hopeful that they’ll be no more delays so that I can continue on my educational journey and follow my dreams of studying law and secure that law degree,” Storm said.
Hailing from Khumalo suburb in Bulawayo, the young dancer, who will be 21 years old next Tuesday, continues to rule the stage. She’s got the moves! – @SeehYvonne