They began as dancers in different places at different times without ever imagining they’d ever meet.
Today they are two passionate dance partners who support each other through thick and thin and have sworn to turn professional ÔÇô a term used by dancers to officiate you as a dancer even if you had been a great dancer for decades of years.
Tshepise Keosimile started dancing in 2007, while Mike Gare started his dance career in 2008.
Talking about how they met, Gare said that he had been based in Francistown but because of life reasons he had to relocate to Gaborone.
“And obviously I left my partner in Francistown and when I got here I was in search of a new dance partner. I asked guys to help me look and that’s when I was told there was someone really good. We spoke for some time and we were meant to meet.”
This is when Keosimile laughingly interrupts the narration to mention that the reason he took so long to meet her was because he had been afraid to come to Mogoditshane, where she had been staying at the time, saying that he had heard bad stuff about the place.
“Yes, I was scared of Mogoditshane, but we ended meeting after a few weeks and we started dancing,” stated Gare.
They are currently at the championships level, but to achieve their goal of turning professional, they have to write appropriate exams so that they can qualify to be professional dancers.
They said that turning professional is another level of dancing. You get paid when you compete and you automatically become a legal teacher amongst other things.
Explaining the stages that lead to professionalism, Keosimile said that Latin and ballroom has level 1, 2, 3 and 4.
“Those are the standard levels, and then come the open section, there you start with nuvis, pre-champ and then go on to championships and that’s when you can turn professional. It does not only take for you to dance up to championship. You have to take exams. You can also turn professional through competition by accumulating a number of points through competing.”
While working towards being professional, the two are busy with other events. They have performed at the recent opening of the Youth Games and they have previously performed at BNSC Awards, Feta De La Musique, President Awards, amongst other things.
“We are trying to make sure that we are still active and competing while readying for exams. We are also busy teaching.”
Are they allowed to teach before turning professional?
“There is no rule that is against it because when you are teaching, you cannot teach something that’s above you,” said Gare.
“What we can say is unfair or illegal is teaching something that’s beyond you. And obviously when I teach, I teach levels that I have qualified for, I’ve competed and I have graduated from.”
“That’s’ why we call the place Dance Instructions instead of Dance School because it’s not a school. It’s located in Kwena Dance Studios in Extension 10, but we also teach at Jack Gyms and those are our extensions and support streams,” Keosimile added.
It’s not always glitz and glamour with dancing, Tshepise explained.
“Dance is not our hobby and it is not a fun thing that we do when we are bored. It is a professional thing we want to put food on the table with, because we live in a country where unemployment is a problem so we are trying to create jobs for ourselves so it really frustrates when someone wants you to perform for free or for P100 just because they know that you need the platform.”
And Gare chipped in: “If it could be recognized then younger children could learn it at an earlier stage and they can be recognized at an earlier stage and they can turn professional when they are still young. They’ll be able to explore their talent.”