By Vasco Chaya
Dancers Association of Zimbabwe (Daz) president Harpers Mapimhidze has urged dancers to be creative for them to remain relevant in the arts industry.
Mapimhidze bemoans the dearth of creativity in the dance industry saying the development will greatly affect them.
“It’s painful that among 100 dance groups under Daz, only a handful of them are known and these are Beverly Sibanda, Zoey, Apama and Wasu.
“This development can be attributed to general lack of creativity among the dancers. The majority of them tend to copy each other, they display similar dance moves and, as a result, will remain unknown,” Mapimhidze said.
Owing to this, the bulk of dance groups in the country perform for crumbs.
Dancers, save for the popular ones, get a paltry $60 per show, a figure that is not even enough to cater for four members of a dance group.
“We are being paid about $60 for a show by promoters and now it is very difficult to have more than one show per day as bar owners of late expect us to perform for not
less than four hours.
“As a result, it means the whole dance group, which consists of about five members, will get $180 per week.
“The group founder will take over half of the amount, leaving us with about $20 per week,” one dancer told the Daily News in confidence.
“$20 is not even enough to cater for basics in life like school fees, rentals and rates among other expenses. Takungoraramawo nenyasha mufunge (We are surviving by grace),” she said.
A member of an all-male ensemble concurred with the female dancer, saying the situation forces ladies to augment their wages mainly through unorthodox means, including sex work.
“The situation is affecting every dancer and as boys we end up staying as a group in one room mainly in ghettos just to make ends meet.
“But the situation seems tough on female dancers who value privacy; they usually end up engaging in commercial sex work. At times it is not their fault,” he said.
The majority of ordinary dancers are staying in groups in Harare’s high density suburbs such as Highfield, Mbare, Epworth, Dzivaresekwa, Kuwadzana and Warren Park among others.
On the other hand, popular dance group leaders such as Bev and Zoey are living a fairly noble life.
Bev’s Avenues apartment costs about $400 per month, in rentals. She owns a personal car and a kombi. DailyNews