NINETEEN-year-old Harare-based female dancer Tanaka Machikicho (pictured) is set to represent the country at this year’s Ultimate Battle Rivalskool in Paris, France, after scooping the top prize at the recently held Jibilika Dance Festival at Alliance Francaise in Harare.
Machikicho (TM) opened up to Standard Style’s Ronald Magweta (RM) about her life in the arts industry.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
RM: You recently became the first female to win the top prize at the Rivalskool Battle 2019. What does this mean to you?
TM: It really means a lot to me, honestly to represent all the females in Zimbabwe. It’s a great honour to show girl power through dance.
RM: What do you think is the reason why you outclassed other contestants?
TM: I think the main reason is that I have potential as a female dancer and I have my own style and groove compared to other dancers.
RM: You will represent Zimbabwe at the Ultimate Battle Rivalskool in Paris, France. How does this make you feel?
TM: It makes me feel excited and honoured that I have to raise our Zimbabwean flag high in Paris. I feel happy and proud of myself, especially being the first female to do that.
RM: When you dance, there is so much flexibility, is this something natural or you have to train?
TM: It is natural. I did ballet when I was young and that is why I am still flexible up to today.
RM: Do you think there is enough appreciation of female dancers or of dance as a profession in Zimbabwe?
TM: There is more appreciation of dance as a profession in Zimbabwe, however it seems like female dancers are not much appreciated compared to their male counterparts.
RM: What do you think or suggest must be done for female dancers to be appreciated?
TM: I think females should participate more in dance cyphers, battles and workshops and I suggest they put more effort in challenging the male dancers.
RM: At what stage did you decide that dance was going to be your life and how did that happen?
TM: Last year when I joined BreakNation Movement, I was inspired by other dancers such as B-Boy Chris Styles and Felix Mwale. They have shown me that when you have the right people around you and when you dance, you do not express the love of dance with your moves only, but with your heart and that is how my passion for dance grew more.
RM: There are parents who feel being a dancer is not a serious ambition for their children. What can you say to them?
TM: All I can say is if your child really shows their passion on dancing, please support them because God has big plans for them. My parents first thought I shouldn’t dance, but when I entered the dance industry, they supported me, and now I got the opportunity to go to France.
RM: Locally and internationally, who has been your greatest inspiration when it comes to dancing?
TM: Locally, it has been Lynn Mambwere and internationally it has been Lily Frias from the United States.
RM: What is your word of advice to other young female dancers out there who would want to pursue dance as a career?
TM: Do not be afraid and never doubt yourself because as females we have to show more confidence and attitude as we try to catch up with our male counterparts. Never change yourself, just do you, be you and stay you.