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World dance champion, Paul Modjadji, in Nigeria with BDB Africa Tour

By Daniel Anazia
28 January 2017   |   4:20 am
To mark his 10th anniversary in the dance world, South African world dance champion, Paul Modjadji, is visiting various African countries including Nigeria with his Breaking Down Borders (BDB) Africa Tour.


To mark his 10th anniversary in the dance world, South African world dance champion, Paul Modjadji, is visiting various African countries including Nigeria with his Breaking Down Borders (BDB) Africa Tour.

The initiative, a pan-African dance tour would see Modjadji make 10 stops on the continent, teaching dance and collaborating with young African civic leaders and artistes.

Inspired by his work with the European Star Dance Union (ESDU), Modjadji will use the tour as a means to scout for fresh a talent in the continent to take part in the international dance competition. He will also use the tour to advocate for dance and arts education while offering dance master classes in the respective countries including Nigeria.

Modjadji made history by becoming the first dancer in Africa to win the ESDU World Championships in the solo Jazz category in 2011. Following that success, he was crowned top dancer in the world at Talent America Showcase in New York in 2013, and in 2015, he was appointed lead choreographer in Africa’s first made for cinema dance film, Hear Me Move, a multi award winning.

As an international dance champion, Modjadji’s list of accolades is as long as his illustrious career. Five years after he made history on the Dance Star World Championships stage in Croatia, he returned to the same world stage this year as the official South Africa and Africa brand ambassador of ESDU and one of the esteemed judges at the biggest dance competition in the world.

In celebration of his astronomic career, Modjadji in partnership with the ESDU will search for the next dance star from the continent through the BDB Africa Tour initiative.

“As an ambassador and judge of the international competition, I have witnessed the lack of representation of the continent on the global platform, and it gave me serious concern. I don’t want to enjoy being the only or the first; I want to use my success to open doors for others to reach similar levels. This BDB Africa Tour is but one step in achieving this goal,” he said.

The multi-talented dancer from the Modjadji tribe in South Africa is a global young leaders award recipient and was recently recognised with a Mandela Washington Young African Leaders Award from President Barrack Obama.

As founder of the Leaders Who Dare To Dream Foundation, Modjadji’s work with making arts accessible to youth in townships has reached over 10,000 young people through various programmes.

Through the tour, the Inyathelo Philanthropy awardee will engage with civil organisations to promote and support programmes that advance arts education in Africa. Through the talent search, one dancer from each of the countries will earn an all expenses paid trip to represent the continent at the 2017 Dance Star World Masters, set to take place during Africa Month in Croatia.

Modjadji kicked off the tour in Zimbabwe in August 2016, and has since visited Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, and now Nigeria, following which the tour heads to Senegal, Lesotho and Burundi respectively.

While in Nigeria, beginning from January 22, Modjadji offered master dance classes and auditions; screen the film, Hear Me Move and collaborated with Gideon Odijie from The Africa Radio Live, Africa’s premier radio for young Africans across the continent.

“I have performed on world stages, but exploring Africa has always been a dream of mine. I have learnt so much from the amazing talents in Nigeria much as I have also been able to teach them. I am thrilled and feel privileged to have the opportunity to make an impact in the life of a young dancer in my own continent, particularly Nigeria. I cannot wait to come again,” Modjadji stated.

Odijie dedicates his work to the continent’s future development through building platforms to help young Africans connect, learn, spread impact and collaborate effectively to achieve big social impacts.

Also hosting Modjadji is fellow Mandela Washington cohort, Kunle Adewale, who is an educator, visual artist and founder of Tender Arts Nigeria, a youth art base organisation with over a decade of experience in talent discovery and community development using creative arts as platform.