Cadet dance classes launched

Lesotho Times - - Weekender - Mo­halenyane Phakela

VETERAN cadet dancer, Thabo Fran­cis Joaleke­nako and the Beauty Pageant As­so­ci­a­tion of Le­sotho chair­per­son, Tlali Tlali, have or­gan­ised a se­ries of classes which will cul­mi­nate in the re­vival of the Cadet Dance dur­ing the Cul­ture and In­no­va­tion Week Car­ni­val in Oc­to­ber this year.

The classes com­menced over the week­end with Joaleke­nako host­ing 22 girls at the TNT Se­cu­rity premises in Maseru on Satur­day and Sun­day. The par­tic­i­pants were taught the ba­sic moves of the dance which was pop­u­larised by sailors and the army.

The dance fea­tures drums and trum­pets where the dancers per­form­ing uni­form moves of­ten us­ing sticks. It is usu­ally per­formed on the streets dur­ing car­ni­vals or in are­nas dur­ing na­tional cel­e­bra­tions. It was also adopted by Catholic schools with stu­dents per­form­ing at dif­fer­ent cel­e­bra­tions.

The first per­for­mances will be held on the streets of Maseru dur­ing the Cul­ture and In­no­va­tion Week Car­ni­val set for the first week of Oc­to­ber.

Joaleke­nako this week told the Week­ender that they aimed to re­vive the dance which some­how died down in the coun­try in 2007.

“We stopped per­form­ing in 2007 due to old age and un­for­tu­nately there was no group to re­place us un­til re­cently when I was ap­proached by Ntate Tlali to re­vive it,” Joaleke­nako said.

“We cur­rently have 22 ladies learn­ing the dance but the aim is to re­cruit more peo­ple re­gard­less of the age and body size to join us. For now we will prac­tice at TNT of­fices ev­ery week­end but the aim is to train ev­ery af­ter- noon when stu­dents come from school.

“To en­sure that the dance does not die again, we in­tend to teach chil­dren from as early as pri­mary school across the coun­try.

“We urge par­ents to al­low their chil­dren to join. We are also ap­peal­ing to the pub­lic to sup­port us for this dance is not only a form of en­ter­tain­ment as it also goes to­gether with dis­ci­pline, time man­age­ment, lead­er­ship and other life skills.”

Joaleke­nako who per­formed for the late Pope John Paul II and the late South African Pres­i­dent, Nel­son Man­dela, dur­ing their sep­a­rate vis­its to Le­sotho, said he joined the Cadet dance in 1966 at Mo­fuma­hali oa Tl­holo Cathe­dral where he and oth­ers were trained by Brother Irene Lecter of the Ro­man Catholic Church. He also per­formed in South Africa, Botswana and Swazi­land un­til 2007

He honed his skills in Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa from 1974 to 1984 where he qual­i­fied as a drum ma­jor and also be­came an ex­pert in staff no­ta­tion and many sketches.

“We formed dif­fer­ent groups around the coun­try and ev­ery time there was a big or gov­ern­ment cel­e­bra­tion we would be in­vited to per­form.

“We were about 3900 na­tion­wide and we would choose the best 60 to per­form dur­ing cel­e­bra­tions.”

One of the learn­ers, Se­bolelo Rathebe, told this pub­li­ca­tion that she loved the dance and had al­ready learnt a lot in the two days she had been with Joaleke­nako.

“I al­ways loved and wanted to join Cadet Dance since high school but un­for­tu­nately it was open for Catholics only and I did not hes­i­tate when I learned this would be open to any­one.

“Be­sides phys­i­cal ex­er­cise, I have al­ready learnt about time man­age­ment and the im­por­tance of re­spect­ing ev­ery­one.

“Cadet Dance can be a good hobby and I ad­vise other peo­ple to join as it is a good way of ex­er­cis­ing with­out ac­tu­ally hit­ting the gym and it also helps boost self-es­teem as the per­for­mances are go­ing to be done be­fore crowds, she said.

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