Tucked away above the KFC at Kloof Village Mall is a hidden gem – a studio that celebrates the glamour of yesteryear and brings out the best in all its students
Story Hayley Dennyson Pictures Adi Weerheim
Dance2Dance International (D2Di) is run by Alain and Melloney Rijnvis, both accomplished dancers, who moved to the Kloof site in 2014. Since then, they have established a loyal group of dancers, both social and competitive, and secured numerous titles at major dance events around the country. Now, they have their sights set on the world stage!
“Our motto is ‘Always inspiring’ and we hope to motivate our dancers to be more, to do more and to be happier in everything they do,” says competitive dancer and instructor Melloney. There’s no mistaking the passion and enthusiasm of the team at D2Di. In fact, they consider themselves family and show a real sense of ownership about everything that happens at the studio.
The team’s professional approach has created a name for the studio far beyond the Upper Highway, with top international dancers using it as a base when they are in the country.
Initially focusing on Latin and Ballroom, the team now includes hip hop instructor Danny Guiselli, Dance Platform acrobatics and Smackworks functional fitness and MMA Fighting. It may seem an odd mix, but each of the disciplines requires commitment and passion, and students have benefitted from the variety of influences. “When I joined D2Di a year ago, I had only done ballet,” says Christine Fritsch. “Now, I have experience in hip hop, contemporary, Latin and Ballroom, and I feel accomplished in each of the styles.”
That said, it is more than just dance moves. Alain, Melloney and the other instructors strive to empower their students with knowledge of how to present themselves, how to conduct themselves in competition and to interact in a professional manner. “We like to think that there is a bit of glamour in everything we do,” Mell says.
D2Di’s dancers compete both locally and nationally. In December 2016, a team from the studio travelled to SA Champs in Cape Town. “Our dancers cleaned up against the best in the country!” Mell exclaims with pride. “Everyone from D2Di who took part came back with a title.”
The winners were Tayla Reid, Christine Fritsch, Sam Zoepka, Emily Henderson, Jordyn Alford, Anna Naidoo, Claudia Potgieter and D2Di studio manager Kim Pienaar, as well as Tanya Dimitriu and Caleb Hawkins, a dynamite young couple (yet to finish primary school) who took part in the mainstream competition. The majority took part in the Pro-Am categories, where an amateur dancer gets to perform with their instructor – in this case, Alain.
“It is an honour to dance with Alain,” says Tayla Reid, who was one of D2Di’s first students and has been with the studio for seven years. “Dance is a life skill and Alain pushes us to be more than just great dancers, but great people too. He invests so much in his students. Mental training is just as important as the physical. We have to visualise our success and then make it happen.
“Mell is just as much of an inspiration to us all and has taught me so much about presentation and etiquette. Whether it’s to do with dance or your personal life, nothing is too much.”
More recently, a team from the studio travelled to Sun City for Rumba in the Jungle, an International Dance Sport competition. This is the largest event of its kind in South Africa, with dancers from eight countries and local TV crews in attendance. Emma Tomlinson and Christine Fritsch won
their sections, but the undisputed star of the event was 16-year-old Jordyn Alford (from St Mary’s DSG), who won first place in the Latin Junior Rising Star section and was invited to take part in the prestigious “best of the best” competition, held at the gala event in the Super Bowl. This allows for dancers from all sections to compete against one another. “Naturally, the adults are usually the only qualifiers, but Jordyn was impressive enough to qualify,” Mell explains. “After a breath-taking performance of all five Latin dances (Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doblé and Jive), Jordyn was announced as South Africa’s Best Latin Pro-Am dancer.” What an achievement!
Alain has also trained World Champion Line Dancer Taren Gaia, who works with Fuso Danse Studio, and Emma Tomlinson, who was recently named number one for acrobatics, which she practises with Shaz from Dance Platform. Dance Platform is another success story, having started in a garage with just two students, and is now training over 100 students, some of whom represent SA.
“The instructors and students at D2Di are like family – no matter what level you are at, from absolute beginner to top competitor, you will always be welcome,” Tayla concludes.
Pop into the studio and you are likely to see top dancers in action. “It takes great commitment to compete with the best and that’s what we aim for – not just the best in SA, but the best in the world,” says Mell. The instructors and students have set their sights on Blackpool Dance Sport Festival 2018, the world’s most anticipated dance competition and an opportunity for D2Di to become a global name in dance.
Kloof Village Mall, 33 Old Main Road, Kloof (above KFC)
031 764 2966
On September 23 and 24, 2017, D2Di is hosting the Prix d’ Elegance in honour of the late Graham Smith. Past winners include some of the world’s top dancers, and the team are determined to achieve the right level of prestige. The event is open to the public and is set to deliver the glitz and glamour of TV’s most popular dance series. To find out more, visit Dance2Dance International and Prix d’ Elegance on Facebook.
Tags: dance, Dance2Dance International