KINGSWAY High School maths teacher and national ballroom dancing champion, Tina Dolwana (25) is the embodiment of elegance this Women’s Month.
The five-time national champion shared the role ballroom dancing has played in her life and the importance of the lessons it can offer society and the youth of today.
Tina grew up in Bizana and studied education at UKZN. She began ballroom Latin dancing in 2001. In 2013 she moved to ballroom standard, which she learnt from scratch from her newly-made partner and ex-Kingsway High pupil, Thabo Khoza.
Dancing their way to star status as five-time national champions, Tina and Thabo have since made history through their partnership. The couple first qualified to represent South Africa in 2013 and in 2014 when they travelled to China to compete in the World Championships.
In 2016 they travelled to Denmark to compete in worlds again. While world championships take place every year, the couple find it tough to self-fund these annual trips. This year they look set to travel to Russia for the worlds but this decision will be dependent on funds. Before Russia, the couple plan to travel to Italy to be coached by ex-world champion dancers.
Watch Tina in action:
More recently, Tina choreographed dances for the school’s inaugural debutantes and escorts ball, as well as four dances for its annual musical. She offers ballroom dancing as an extra-mural at KHS and while she believes teens can benefit from all the sport offers, she admits it’s tough to attract the boys to sign up.
The couple offer dancing lessons in Pinetown and three of their student-couples have earned SA champion titles.
Tina teaches maths to grade 8 to 10 pupils and while completing her degree, majored in maths and science.
Thabo matriculated from KHS in 2009 and won maths awards for his abilities, before becoming a qualified civil engineer. Tina and Thabo’s mutual precision and discipline plays a role in their performance in ballroom dancing.
uring an interview with the Sun, Tina explained all the reasons that ballroom is the dance style for her.
“I love the discipline of this sport, which is actually more of a sport than art, despite what most people think. I love the glamour, the way it moulds you into a lady or gentleman. It teaches you respect for your partner, how to behave, to be elegant and instills class,” she said.
When the couple were featured on SABC1:
Tina hopes to be the first South African to make it to the world championship finals. When competing at worlds, the international standard is entirely different to that on show in South Africa. Overseas, ballroom dancers participate for a living, whereas in South Africa, it’s a hobby on the sideline of a day-job.
“Ballroom dancing isn’t as big in SA as it should be,” she said. “I really hope it grows in SA, and that the country becomes recognised for ballroom dancing and can offer good competition internationally.”
The gentle dancer paid gratitude to her school for the support and expressed her appreciation at being given the opportunity to choreograph the musical and perform at the inaugural debutantes ball.
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