SA juvenile Latin-American and ballroom dance champions Ethan May, 12, from Bonteheuwel and Keziah Gabriels, 12, Mitchell’s Plain, are gearing up to represent the country at the Copenhagen Open, in Denmark, in July.
Despite their age, the youngsters have had an impressive run on the SA dance circuit over the years, dominating in more than 10 competitions which they took part in.
In 2016, Ethan, a grade 6 pupil at St Agnes Dominican Convent Primary School, in Woodstock, was the undefeated juvenile champion.
In 2017, he made SA’s Got Talent semi-finals in Soweto. He is a triple SA champ in three dancing federations and he is the current Western Privince champion.
He started dancing when he was six years old. He was influenced by his older brother who is also a dancer.
Ethan and Keziah met in 2012 at the New Beginnings Dance Studio at the Farm in Lentegeur and they are currently coached by 2007’s SA’s Got Talent winner, Lindsey Muckle.
Ethan’s father, Alphonso, says he used to be a dancer too before switching to football, and says Ethan got the magic in his feet from both sides of the family.
Speaking on behalf of his son, he called it a privilege to represent Bonteheuwel and the country, saying it sets a positive example in a crime ridden area.
Ethan’s partner Keziah echoed these sentiments, saying she loves dancing because it is her favourite sport.
“I enjoy dancing with Ethan because at competitions we are either first or second,” she says.
Keziah’s father, Wayne Gabriels, says the grade 6 pupil at A.Z Berman started showing off her dancing moves when she was four-years-old.
His wife, Chantal, fascinated by their daughter’s talent, persuaded young Keziah to take formal lessons.
Gabriels described his daughter as generally shy but one that opens up once she hits the floor.
Although sometimes a but reluctant to perform in from of people, despite the many trophies she’s won, Gabriels says his daughter is not afraid to show you the ”gwaragwara” – a popular African move popularised by DJ Bongz.
He says when she steps onto a competition stage, her passion for dancing is ignited.
“They (Ethan and Keziah) started dancing as partners as six years old, but when she was eight, we moved to Johannesburg for two years before returning to Cape Town. When we returned Ethan did not have a partner and so they partnered again. We have seen a lot of people dance, but between them there is a lot of understanding and they endure each other,” he says.
Their instructor Mackle says she thinks the duo trains more than 10 hours a week in preparation for the trip to Denmark.
“I started instructing them earlier this year and they are doing well.”
Muckle says she thinks it’s an awesome opportunity for the youngsters to compete internationally.
“Ethan and Keziah are my youngest couple. They are more than ready for the Copenhagen Open. Perhaps next year they will also go to the dancing competition in Blackpool, UK,” she says.
To help raise funds for Ethan and Keziah’s trip, a karaoke/disco will be held at Portland Indoor Centre, in Mitchell’s Plain, on Friday March 8, starting at 7:30pm. Tickets cost R50 each. Call 083 562 5944.