Nairobi kids take to ballet dancing
Posted Thursday, August 9 2012 at 11:36
For Trony Valentine Ingati, nothing enthrals her like the smoky air, as she stands perfectly poised under the bright, almost blinding spotlight. All eyes in the auditorium fixed on her and at that moment, nothing else exists.
She stands centre stage wearing a leotard and tutu, her make-up bold upon her face.
“As a ballet dancer that’s your glory, to live for the stage,” she says.
Born in Nairobi, Trony began dancing ballet in her teenage years.
However her first interaction with the dance style was with her mother’s friends who she can only remember by their first names Lindsey and Jackie.
“They were passionate ballet teachers in Austria and France respectively and would visit us when they were around,” she says.
“When I was 11, I trained for a few weeks at the Conservatoire in Nairobi, by the National Theatre,” she says.
Her parents passed on in 2003 and she moved in with her Ugandan aunt in Kampala where she attended high school.
“When both my parents died, I found it very hard to grieve. It was at this point that I gave expressive dance which borrows from ballet a chance and that helped get my act together,” she says.
From 2004 to 2006 during school holidays, Trony would train at the Kampala Ballet and Modern dance School.
Now 24, she says she began teaching ballet in 2008 by sheer default.
“One Saturday as I was having a mentorship session with my photographer Greg Dhupa, we set off for a photo shoot at a studio called Destiny Dance which has since been shut down.
Once in there, I remember saying out loud ‘may I volunteer here and teach dance as I learn?’
The owner, Susan Koki Juma took note and after eight months or so when she needed a dance teacher in a ballet discipline, she called me.”
She taught ballet to small children, junior ballet and adult ballet at the Destiny Dance Studio in Nairobi for three years.
At Destiny, Trony bettered her skill working with Ballet Master Michael Muriithi who she says played a big role in mentoring her and taking her through the theory and practice of teaching ballet not only as a dance but as an art.
Destiny Dance eventually closed shop in 2010 and that opened the door to working with Muziki Tele, music and dance studio.
The studio is located at Jim Davis Tennis Academy in Kilimani.
Since the beginning of this year, Trony started teaching at various schools in Nairobi.
Her youngest student is two years old. The course starts with creative movement for children aged between three and four years.
“This is a creative and imaginative class where 3 to 4 year olds explore movement, rhythm and music.
Much emphasis is devoted to basic coordination and a foundation for further ballet study,” she says.
The next course is an equally imaginative class for children aged between five and six years.
“Pre-ballet explores movement, rhythm and music.”