Windhoek - Music and dancing are the bacon and eggs of the arts.
But somehow professional dancers don’t get the respect they deserve in society.
This is something that Mareka Masule, or Lilly as she is also known, has set about to change, starting with the Namibian dance scene.
Recently chosen as the official choreographer for the second edition of the MTC Knockout Project, Lilly is convinced that dance in Namibia can be so much bigger than it presently is.
The MTC Knockout Project is a charity extravaganza that will this year seek to
raise millions of dollars for housing the homeless in Namibia. The focus of the inaugural event last year was raising awareness about gender-based violence.
This year, organisers have decided to tap into the power of under-appreciated dance sector.
Choreographer Lilly recently told The Southern Times: “The project is aimed at raising funds to help tackle homelessness. Therefore, everyone who is part of this project will be helping to change lives by giving their time and commitment to help an individual feel part of the community again."
She expressed how working on the project had shown her the extent to which dancing was underrated, but noted that the MTC Knockout was the perfect platform to set about rectifying this.
Lilly is no stranger to overcoming adversity and changing people’s perspectives by sheer dint of willpower.
Bullied and body shamed through childhood and as a teenager, Lilly used dancing to both refocus herself and to get people to appreciate that there was always more to a person.
After matriculating, she auditioned and made the cut at First Rain Theatre Group, where she was mentored by Haymich Olivier and Tuli Shityuwete, who was once on the hit show “Britain's Got Talent”.
At First Rain she finessed her dancing skills and together with the ensemble did multi productions which include the critically acclaimed “Aivilo”.
"... after such a long childhood history of being called fat, being called chubby, and now branching into fitness and combining the two ... I release my voice, my body and my movements to express myself through dancing by embracing body positivity,”’Lilly told The Southern Times.
She is at home with different dance styles, including African contemporary, contemporary ballet and modern urban rhythms.
Lilly owns the Ilotu (meaning “it’s beautiful”) brand which manages the Ilotu Fix fitness and wellness programme and also encompasses Ilotu Cosmetics.
Looking back to the time she let other people determine what she thought of herself, and comparing that girl to the woman she is today, Lilly said: “Gain power, gain control. Don't give anyone power and control over yourself."