Latin American and ballroom dancing come naturally for Sandra Josias and Thabiso Chidi from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) at Stellenbosch University (SU). The pair won this year's Dancing in Style competition, organised by the Maties Ballroom and Latin American Dance Society (MBLDS).
The demonstrably talented Josias and Chidi are both from the FMHS – she is an administrative coordinator at the Centre for Student Administration, while he is a fourth-year MB,ChB student. They found each other late last year when Chidi started asking around about interested dancers to participate with him in the Dancing in Style competition.
Their dancing backgrounds differ slightly in that it was the first time Josias, who has always loved dancing, was introduced to Latin American and ballroom dancing. Chidi, who says Latin American is the only style of dancing he is comfortable with, learned about this type of dance in high school “out of curiosity". “When I was in Grade 11, a matric learner asked me to help her out with a project, which included Latin dances. When I got to matric, I had to do the same thing and it was after that experience that I realised how much I love dancing."
As a student at SU, Chidi joined the MBLDS in 2015. In February this year, he and Josias started training for the society's annual competition, which took place in April.
“We had to come up with a schedule that suited both of our lives," says Chidi. “Sandra was extremely dedicated and determined to bring the trophy home." Josias says they trained two to three times per week. “Every night of training was for a different dance that we had to do for the competition, and it meant coming home late in the evenings," she adds.
Their hard work, dedication and hours of training paid off because the pair walked away as the overall winners of the society's competition. “Emotionally, dancing makes me feel good about myself. Learning a new type of dance gave me the confidence to take on the dance floor. This journey has been very rewarding… the sweat and sore knees were not all in vain," says Josias.
“We know that music is a language, but dancing is a whole new world of its own," says Chidi.
He explains that dancing has taught him many valuable lessons. “There is more to Stellenbosch University, especially Tygerberg Campus, than meets the eye. There is something here for everyone."