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Dancers earn as little as N$150 per gig - Stanley Mareka

by Rosalia David

One of Namibia’s most recognised dancers, Stanley Mareka has come out to say that dancers in Namibia still earn peanuts for their art which is unfair.

Mareka who spoke to Vibe over the weekend said dancers are struggling to make ends meet, and that they get paid as little as N$150 per gig.

“Some clients really do take advantage of the terms and conditions. Clients would negotiate with a dancer to dance for less than N$150 for 10 minutes which is not fair," Mareka argued.

He stressed the importance of supporting small dancers, especially because most have found that dancing is the only way to keep their heads above the water, as a result of not having been successful at school.

“There are really people out there who do nothing for a living except dancing and therefore should be accepted as a normal job by everyone,” Mareka said.

He added that the corporate world should extend a hand in that direction by recognising the art through sponsorships to institutions that provide a platform for Namibians who want to become professional dancers.

According to the award-winning dancer, dancing academies should award equal opportunities to up and coming street dancers by scouting and helping them improve.

“If only government could provide us an open venue whereby we can book rooms for practises that would be better. Just like the art centre or music centres,” he said.

Mareka also said there should also be a proper remuneration system implemented for local dancers.

“Let us not only think of giving grants but implement a system that can last for a life time. I do not want to compare Namibia to Europe or the rest of Africa but let us find common ground,” he noted.

He added that, the money he makes is not enough to expand his Equipped Dancing Academy as much as he wants to assist the learners who have passion for dancing but little funds.

Mareka’s dancing academy used to accommodate 30 to 40 dancers but now reduced it to 15 because of the lack of funds.

“I have no sponsors or investors and that is why the pressure became too high to a point where I had to decrease the number of dancers I have under my leadership,” he noted.