Internationally renowned South African choreographer, author, social developer and entrepreneur Paul Modjadji uses his passion for dance to move others
Growing up in Gauteng's Hammanskraal township, Modjadji knew he needed to leave home to fulfill his dreams of becoming a dancer. "Had it not been for my decision to go abroad as an 18-year-old, I'd never have received the international dance scholarship to attend the Dansevaerkstedet Dance Foundation in Denmark, which paved my way into the world of dance,” he says. “I’m passionate about creating communities in which kids don't have to look outside to find meaning in life and where they can have positive role models.”
Rooted in this passion is Modjadji's Leaders Who Dare to Dream project. “I’m gratified to see how we've moved from offering dance classes to fulfilling a bold vision of empowering communities through the construction of arts and leadership development centres.”
In recognition of his work in community upliftment, Modjadji recently received the lnyathelo Philanthropy Award from the South African Institute for Advancement. "2015 was a year of growth and great change,” he reflects. “I’ve gone from being the choreographer on the local and international release of the film Hear Me Move to being asked to be part of President Barack Obama's prestigious Mandela Washington Fellowship and spending two months in the USA sharpening my leadership skills."
This year's set to be just as bright, with Modjadji due to release his second book, The 101 Principles for Getting In and Staying In the Game in June, based on his entrepreneurial experiences as Head of Entertainment at media house lmvula Pula Entertainment. He'll also be touring the continent sharing his talent and passion and is immersing himself in his new position as the European Star Dance Union's Head of Operations for SA and Africa.
"I'm motivated by the possibilities of all that's still to be achieved and the legacy we owe to the next generation," he says.