Eoan dancers are tops

Going through their paces are Eoan Group School of the Performing Arts dancers, from left, Luca Oks, 13, Bilquees Alexander, 19, Jesse Bredenkamp, 16, Emily Fortuin, 15, Jadyn Oks, 16, Jemma Louw, 15, and Faahkir Bestman, 17.

Winning the top three spots in a national dance competition is just what the Eoan Group School of Performing Arts needs right now.

So says Eoan Group dance director Abeedah Medell, after the school came out tops at the Theatre Dance Association’s competition, which was held in Johannesburg, on Saturday June 26, just before the revised level-4 lockdown was announced.

Faahkir Bestman, 17, Bilquees Alexander, 19, and Jesse Bredenkamp, 16, all competed in the 16-years-and-older category for contemporary dance and their own choice of dance. Faahkir won first place in the contemporary dance, and was second in the “own choice”. Bilquees won first place in the “own choice” category and Jesse took third place in that category.

Ms Medell said each dance student had had to perform two pieces to show their diversity.

“The ‘own choice’ category was an opportunity for them to develop their own style. With this category, there were a lot of discoveries – whether through choreography, emotionally or physically,” she said.

Jesse said it had been a thrilling experience. “It was like an escape to me. It took us away from all the tough times. It was also the first time I entered a dance competition. It was new and different. It was a shock and surprise to me that I had won second runner-up. This motivates me to work harder.”

Faahkir said: “It was a happy and emotional experience. Usually competitions will be filled with lots of activity, but it was calm this time. There is also no better love than the Eoan Group. I didn’t expect to win, but I also told myself I need to walk away from this competition with something.”

Bilquees said she had been worried about being the oldest in the group and about dancing competitively after having been away from the Eoan Group for a long time.

“I was scared, but winning gave me the kick I needed. I am glad my efforts were recognised on a national platform,” she said.

Another Eoan Group dancer, Jadyn Ocks, 16, said Covid-19 had made the school smaller, but it had also brought them closer.

Ms Medell said: “The pandemic took so many chances away from us. This positive gives us hope that good things can still happen. It is what the Eoan Group needed. We want to do more, and we believe great things will happen. I am so proud of my team.”