Modjadji's on another mission
AFTER making history by becoming the first South African dancer to win a European Star Dance Union competition last year, Paul Modjadji is now on another mission - to search for new dance talent.
The talented Modjadji says he believes his eye-catching display - when he scooped the championship in the jazz category in Croatia last year - must have been enough for the competition's committee members to appoint him as its South African talent scout.
Modjadji - who is also the arts and entertainment winner of the inaugural National Youth Development Agency's South African Youth Awards - is now on a mission to identify a talented dancer to compete at the self-same ESDU World Masters Championships in Croatia next year.
The lucky dancer is due to enjoy an all-expenses-paid trip to Croatia. But last year financial constraints nearly put paid to Modjadji's trip. It was through the generosity of family and friends that he managed to make the trip.
"My aim was to reach the top five but I was surprised when I came first in my category," Modjadji recalls fondly.
The 29-year-old dancer of Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, is still excited by his new, elevated position as a scout.
The nationwide auditions started last week and will run until this month-end. He has a list of 70 hopefuls he has to cut down to 20.
Among those who have impressed him are his own protégés. They are hip-hop dancer Percy Moeketsi and pantsula dancer Thabo Tshabalala - who both hail from Temba in Hammanskraal - and classical contemporary dance practitioner Aobakwe Moroeng of Mahikeng, North West.
Modjadji, who is also a talented choreographer, says: "I will send the 20 aspirant dancers' best audition videos to a panel of international judges in Croatia. They will choose the best candidate to represent South Africa, its unique culture and the people in a solo performance."
Modjadji has started ploughing back into his community. After his successful run in Croatia, he established the Dare To Dream Dance Workshop, which nurtures dance and choreography in his hometown of Hammanskraal.
Other celebrities are also helping to motivate Modjadji's charges. This year TS Record boss and Metro FM show host DJ S'bu Leope and two-time SA Film and Television Award winner Harriet Manamela conducted motivational talks at Modjadji's school.