Tarryn Alberts: The world is her stage

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Boom Shaka is what comes to mind when we speak about the dancing flame, Tarryn Alberts.

Alberts made her professional dancing debut 10 years ago. Equally as impressive as her dancing is her acting - and this for someone with no formal training.

Her latest role in the dance flick Pop, Lock 'n Roll, currently on circuit, is her first time on the big screen.

Growing up, Alberts loved drama so when it was time to play the character Wendy, she said it came naturally.

"She is exactly like me. The only difference is that she's rude and a b***h, which I am not. I love her character because she speaks about real issues dancers face in South Africa. We always get the short end of the stick when we work so hard," said Alberts.

"She [Wendy] comes from Westbury, which is something very close to home, facing the same issues of drugs, gangsterism [and] teenage pregnancy, in an area similar to where I am from."

The 27-year-old from Eldorado Park, south of Jozi, said she had been offered other roles before, but there weren't any uplifting or inspiring roles.

"There have been a lot of times I was asked to represent a side chick and I would turn it down because I don't want my brand and myself to represent that. I am firm in the belief that playing a role which represents the negative aspects of being a woman will be detrimental to my brand," she said.

She said she also wants to break the stereotype that coloured women are vixens.

"Why can't we play the role of the CEO? I want to break the stigma. And this is something [fellow dancer and actress] Lorcia Cooper taught me. It is something I take with me every single day," she said.

Alberts said that she was already an avid dancer at the age of four.

"My grandmother dressed me up as a clown and I did [the dance from] Boom Shaka's It's About Time [video]. I did it exactly how they did it in the music video. As a child I studied that music video," she said.

She took up modern dance at the age of nine and eventually joined a group called The Vintage Dance Crew. Their debut as a crew was on the e.tv dance show Step Up or Step Out, where they finished as runners up.

In 2012 they were recruited to star in a music video with Die Antwoord. Alberts has since toured with the music group for the past four years and recently returned from their world tour.

The petite blonde who is covered in tattoos said the biggest misconception people seem to have is that she is "wild, stupid and ratchet". She said this is hardly the case.

"When I started seriously focusing on this career, because of my accent I was seen as stupid and wild. Maybe my English wasn't 'perfect' enough because I roll my Rs. I am mistaken for being easy... loose. Once I had a guy step to me, forcing me to kiss him, stating that he can give me work in exchange for sex. This happened at the age of 21. From that day onwards I vowed to always uphold my honour," she said.

She said her tattoos are an extension of her soul. When you see the word "vuil" it represents her neighbourhood, because where she comes from, it means cool.

One close to her heart is an anchor representing her parents. She said it represents a time in her life when her heart sank as her parents decided on a divorce (hence the anchor).

The heart on her face is for a little girl called Macy, who she looks after from time to time.

As part of youth upliftment, she wants to host dance and fitness classes in her community. She will be introducing hip-hop classes as well for little children in the area.

Currently she is also working on a three-year plan to bring in 100 different dancers each year to be trained. Her classes will start at Maboneng Precint in Joburg in January.