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Desire Arsene Ndayishimiye, mostly known by his nickname ‘Dizy Quan’, has found fun and income in dancing—what started as a hobby, is now a business.
Before he started dancing professionally, he thought of ways it could also make him money. He looked at the benefits of dancing such as boosting fitness and cardiovascular health, encouraging self-expression, and also improving mental health and taking stress down a notch. Additionally, experts say that dancing is a form of exercise that enhances flexibility, boosts energy, and sparks a better mood, and with that, he went ahead. He believed he could convince people to take his dance classes.
He is now a choreographer and performer who trains people in different kinds of dance such as afro beat, house, hip-hop, afro house, and contemporary, among others.
Ndayishimiye wasn’t born a dancer, he showed interest to learn in 2011 while in high school, and spent most of his free time with talented dancers at school as he copied their moves.
“In 2016, I started professional training from Batalo Dance Festival in Uganda, on returning to Rwanda, I continued with dance formation from Amizero Dance Company. It is there that I was trained by numerous choreographers like Wesley Ruzibiza, Wanjiru Kamuyu, and Kettly Noel. I also participated in the company’s projects,” he says.
Ndayishimiye says that he has been able to travel to other countries like DRC, Kenya, and Mali to participate in dance festivals and performances, a thing that improved his expertise.
In 2018, he started offering dance lessons at Hilltop Hotel, and would also train students in schools like Nyundo Art School in Rubavu, and Inyange Girls’ School, among others. He is currently under contract, teaching at Institut Français du Rwanda every Monday 6:30 pm to 8pm.
Ndayishimiye explains that dancing is not an activity that most Rwandans have adapted to, though some are starting to notice its importance. Most of his clients are foreigners.
According to him, this industry is still growing but it is a profitable one. He calls upon school heads to include dancing in their co-curricular activities to allow learners to be creative and exercise other forms of learning away from the classroom.
He encourages the government to facilitate funds for dance projects and enforce dancing after class activities in schools, and also give value to the dance industry by ensuring that dancers are not undervalued in any event, local and international.
One of the challenges he encounters is that dancers are still undervalued and paid peanuts regardless of their efforts and training, a thing he says is unfair because it is a job just like any other, and involves a lot of time to perfect.
“We are only given value by foreigners like the Swiss Embassy, Institut Français du Rwanda, Goethe-Institute in Kigali, and more. We are overshadowed by other kinds of arts yet our work involves much time and energy to create ingenuity,” Ndayishimiye says.
“I am looking forward to inspiring young adults to develop new skills such as dancing as it will pay off with time, instead of sitting home without jobs.” He believes that dancing is the kind of job someone can juggle with their main job.
He encourages young people to challenge themselves to learn more skills because learning is continuous and they will earn from their sweat and hard work.
He calls upon the youth to utilise the internet, and learn something additional to their school knowledge, for instance, it can even be a short course in hairstyling and dressing, drawing, culinary art, poetry, pottery, sewing, and so forth.
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