Hout Bay dancer keeps the pas­sion and love alive

Cape Times - - PAGE 2 - SIPHOKAZI VUSO siphokazi.vuso@inl.co.za Koop­man can be con­tacted at 072 100 7170.

PRO­FES­SIONAL dancer Ri­cardo Koop­man from Hang­berg, Hout Bay, keeps his pas­sion alive by teach­ing chil­dren in the metro the art of dance, com­mit­ment and self-dis­ci­pline.

From hum­ble be­gin­nings, he said from a young age he had been blessed with the abil­ity to dance and over­come ad­ver­sity.

“Be­ing born into a fam­ily with four brothers and one sis­ter, and with my flam­boy­ant style, from a young age I al­ways felt dif­fer­ent. I even saw the in­side of a jail cell af­ter be­ing thrown in prison for wear­ing a blue, satin suit. I was con­stantly teased for my dress sense and was al­ways ha­rassed for do­ing what I loved, which was dance,” he said.

Koop­man, a mod­ern and clas­si­cal bal­let dancer who has per­formed on the world stage, said it was through this jour­ney that he evolved into a mod­ern dance teacher.

“I place a big em­pha­sis on teach­ing the kids morals and the right way to do things. Mu­sic and dance are my pas­sion. They kept me away from drugs sex­ual abuse and crime, and that is some­thing I want the kids I teach to un­der­stand. It is not just about teach­ing them dance; it is also about teach­ing them self-dis­ci­pline and com­mit­ment,” he said.

De­spite suc­cess in teach­ing and mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion to the lives of many chil­dren, Koop­man said he needed fi­nan­cial sup­port to con­tinue his classes.

“I taught mil­lions of kids over th­ese 35 years of pro­fes­sional teach­ing of mod­ern, con­tem­po­rary, cre­ative move­ment, hip hop, chore­og­ra­phy across com­mu­ni­ties. I also taught kids from Langa, Gugulethu, Khayelit­sha and the

Hout Bay Har­vest Youth Foun­da­tion for free, but no longer can do it with­out the in­come of a salary and rental paid for an equipped space,” he said.

Hout Bay ward coun­cil­lor Roberto Quin­tas said Koop­man’s life ori­en­ta­tion-type pro­grammes, cen­tred around the dis­ci­plines of clas­si­cal bal­let, would be of great value to the youth, both boys and girls, in the com­mu­nity.

“I met with Mr Koop­man ear­lier this week, and I was amazed by his pas­sion and prin­ci­ples re­gard­ing both dance and his value sys­tem, which he is com­mit­ted to shar­ing with the youth. I would be very happy to see this project hap­pen­ing in Hout Bay, and to see an in­te­grated space for all the youth of our var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties come to­gether, and where they can ben­e­fit from the clas­si­cal dance en­vi­ron­ment,” said Quin­tas.

PRO­FES­SIONAL dancer Ri­cardo Koop­man has taught dance across the world, and re­called times be­fore lock­down when he in­spired young peo­ple.

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