A group of dancers from Seychelles will participate in an international Latin and ballroom dancing competition on September 21 in Gaborone, Botswana. 
About three dozen dancers from the island nation will participate in the competition, known as the Independence Cup, which takes place over nine days.
The students are currently preparing for the competition at the Heartbeat Latin and Ballroom Dance Studio in the Orion Mall building in the capital, Victoria. Since it opened in May last year, the studio has been offering both social and competitive dance classes, including cha-cha-cha, jive, salsa, samba and rumba.
The managing director of the studio, Tiny Lindiwe Wazime from Botswana, said that preparation is going well and the students are working hard for the competition.
“We have been training the students and we are looking forward to giving them some international exposure. The different dances that we teach are very interesting and rhythmic. The students have shown large interest to learn. Some I can say has already grasped all the basic and even difficult techniques and are even ready to rub shoulders with the professionals,” said Wazime.
The Heartbeat Latin and Ballroom Dance Studio has around 220 adults and 350 children as members and apart from instructor Wazime, it has the assistance of two other professional dance instructors from Botswana and South Africa. The Independence Cup is seen as one of the biggest dance competitions in Botswana and is an open championship of Latin, ballroom, salsa, bachata, hip hop, jika/spantsula and contemporary dancing.

The studio has around 350 as members. (Heartbeat Latin and Ballroom Dance Studio) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
As this will be the first international dance competition for the students. Wazime said that she “is anticipating good results as the students are working very hard.”
The group of dancers includes three students with hearing impairment and Wazime said that “they are as talented as the others and are looking forward to the competition.”
Other than Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, eight countries participating in the event are Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Zambia.
Wazime said that the school holiday programme at Heartbeat Dance Studio has also been helping these students, leading up to their trip to Botswana.
The holiday programme targets children from the age of five with different whole-day packages involving dance classes as well as educational games.
Wazime said there are benefits to dancing.
“It provides the students with a way to exercise, it teaches them discipline, it helps to take them away from alcohol or drug abuse, and it keeps them busy during the school holidays, preventing them from staying at home doing nothing,” she said.
Source: Seychelles News Agency