It’s a Wednesday evening, “Takkies” – real name Nkateko Maswanganye – is wearing the biggest smile on her face as she greets her all-female group of students at Katz Dance Studio in Sandton for an hour session of RockingnHeels.
She begins the class by introducing herself. Takkies, 26, is a natural-born dancer, choreographer and business owner born in Tembisa. Her dancing career began when she was nine, training in modern dance and hip-hop. She started entering dance competitions such So You Think You Can Dance – South Africa and honing her craft at some of the world’s best dance studios, in Britain, the US and at home.
The choreographer and fitness instructor, has a huge social media following, with just over 80K on Instagram and 9K on Twitter. It has been awe-inspiring to watch her sprout from being a Fly Chix, a muscial group who were known for their dramatic reality TV series on the Vuzu channel, to eventually becoming the head choreographer for MTVs international entertainment show, Lip Sync Battle Africa Season 2.
Only a handful of people such as Somizi Mhlongo and Lorcia Cooper – who was once her mentor and dance teacher – have been able to hold down the dancing industry and make a career out of the creative alternative.
“You have to stand out from the rest and have a niche. Do something different that will attract people to you and keep them interested,” Takkies says with a smile. “I would like to see people pay dancers more money and treat dancers with respect, and not like extras. I would also like to see more dancers invest in their craft, training in different styles.”
As an independent artist, Takkies’ mornings include private dance classes with clients.
“My mornings are packed with dancing sessions, then I’ll go to gym. Then it’s usually rehearsals or corporate team building classes, then go to my RockingnHeels. The perks of having your own business is being your own boss, having free will to be as creative as you want. “Challenges are people trying to steal your business ideas, always keeping your clients interested and finding new ways to grow and involve,” she says.
RockingnHeels was born out of Takkies’ love and passion for women, she wanted to create a safe place where women feel comfortable in their own skin, a safe place for women to come and release tension, get fit and have fun.
“My goal is to get as many women as I can to ooze confidence, walk like a boss, support other women and for them to feel good and not let anyone get them down. Woman-shaming needs to stop.”
If she is not at her RockingnHeels classes, gym or at a private dancing session, you can find Takkies at home, watching movies and series, or at a market. Notwithstanding that she has an amazing career, Takkies has a lot up her sleeve.
“I am excited about my wedding in August and that’s what has been taking up my time. There’s a lot business-wise that’s going to happen but I can’t disclose that yet,” says Takkies.
Her RockingnHeels dance classes take place every Monday and Wednesday at 6.30pm at Katz Dance Studio, 60 Rivonia Road, Sandton.