Radebe dances his way to UK's top show

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By Mpiletso Motumi

Showing off your talent on the world stage is a dream for many.

It just became a reality for Johannes Radebe, a professional dancer from Sasolburg, who has joined the cast of Strictly Come Dancing UK.

The 31-year-old said he had been trying to be part of the show for three years.

“My success with the South African production earlier this year, the BBC producers from the UK were able to see me and they liked what they saw and I was invited to join them.”

Radebe is most excited to be immersing himself in the culture.

“The production value that side is on a different level so I look forward to learning and leaving a little bit of us and showcasing what we can do and what we are capable of.  Most importantly I am just excited to be part of it all and meeting the fellow professionals.”

On the show he will be working with Oti Mabuse, a South African talented Latin and ballroom dancer who has been thriving on the UK show.

“She’s a talent nurtured from here at home so I am happy to be walking into that space with someone I know. Also looking forward to working with the likes of Anton du Beke and Katya Jones.”

It was at the age of nine that Radebe discovered ballroom dance.

“It wasn’t planned. I went to a dance class with a friend at the local recreation hall. We saw a demonstration of a couple doing a ballroom dance and ever since I fell in love with the sport and elegance of it and never looked back.”

It took some time for his parents to understand why he chose dance while other children were playing soccer on the fields.

“They thought it was going to be a phase. My dad died in 2001 and the finances were tough for my mother. I made a decision in the second year of my studies in interiors to go for the dancing career and told my mom I was going to make her proud.” He said he loved working with all his partners on the show over the years. Leanne Dlamini, Leigh-Anne Williams and Vanes-Marie du Toit all taught him life lessons during their seasons with him as a dance partner.

“They changed my life in a way that nobody will understand. I spent months with each of them and the experiences were wonderful.

Du Toit and Radebe went up to the semi -finals in this year’s competition. After leaving for the UK in July, his focus is on rehearsing and making sure he represents South Africa the best way he knows how.

Strictly Come Dancing UK will air on DStv Channel 120 BBC Brit from September 30. – The Star

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