Durban – A Wentworth dancer who has performed for crowds from Orlando in the US to Aberdeen in Scotland is now giving back after opening a free dance school for disadvantaged youth in Durban.
Just 22-years-old, Sherwin Green, who grew up in the south Durban community of Wentworth plagued by gangsterism and drugs wants to change that perception by offering free dance lessons for the city’s youth in the hope of grooming them for the global stage.
What was, however, just a dream for Sherwin has since become a reality for him and his noble ambitions after he received a commitment from Marcina Majid, the Executive Head of Sandock Austral Shipyards Cares (SAS Cares) to cover the cost of renting space at the BAT Centre in Durban to teach his students.
“This has been such a blessing because when I started, I was paying out of my own pocket. And because the lessons are free it was not easy for me,” Sherwin said.
“Because I loved to dance and the need to teach people, I was paying for things like transport home for some students because they just did not have money. I really care for them and I have been doing it just to help our community grow. But with this help from SAS Cares, it will go a long way in assisting our dance community,” he said.
Majid said that she was constantly being introduced to individuals that are creating, impacting and serving the community and when met Sherwin she knew immediately she wanted to help him.
“He has a very specific goal that entails helping the community and uplifting people around through dance. His collaborative approach by using choreographers nationwide shows he wants to give his dancers the best learning experience possible. With an energy that is so infectious, it makes you want to be part of a movement that will assist Durban's disadvantaged dancers. I was so impressed that he was taking initiative and outlaying the capital from his own pocket to assist disadvantaged dancers and to create his dream rather than just wish it,” she said.
Majid said that while SAS Cares is primarily geared towards assisting individuals in the maritime sector, Sandock Austral Shipyards are in business for the greater good of society and believe in the ethos that charity begins at home.
“While this is not at home per say we did see this initiative at the BAT Centre being part of a microcosm that we belong to in Durban Harbour and the Tug Basin in particular,” she said.
“SAS Cares wants to create a sustainable platform for Sherwin to fulfil his dream of opening an Internationally recognized dance academy whilst assisting and giving opportunities to dancers from disadvantaged backgrounds. The motivation behind this effort would be to support the arts which is a dying faculty in the city of Durban and help make Durban the great and vibrant city it has the potential to be.. This initiative will give so many well-deserving dancers the opportunity potentially showcase their talents potentially on the international stage and give some hope to make it in this very challenging industry”. Majid concluded.
Sherwin started dancing at the age of three years old and grew up in a family that loved to dance.
His family formed a dance group in Wentworth called Testify when he was still young and it became the vehicle through which he and his cousins would spend hours every week practising their dance moves at his grandparents’ house.
“This is definitely where I got inspired to become a dancer,” he said.
When he was still in primary school, at the age of nine, he saw a flyer for dance auditions in the neighbourhood and jumped at the opportunity.
This decision would see him go on to travel the world at just 10-years-old, dancing in various competitions.
He was able to compete at the Aberdeen Youth Festival in 2010 and a year later in England.
Between 2013 and 2106 he travelled many times to the US in cities such as Orlando where he and his dance team won several trophies.
“I was fortunate enough to have parents who understood my passion and even though they did not have the finances to allow me to travel, we somehow did it and they let me go live my dream even though I was quite young,” he said.
In recent years, Sherwin has used all his experience to get into professional choreography and to impart all he has learnt on the next generation of South African talent.
“I always felt like there was a huge gap between overseas, and South Africa yet we have dancers out here doing such amazing work. My aim to close that gap between South Africa and the rest of the world in terms of dance. It is about showing people the etiquette around dance how to become a professional in order for one to be successful in the industry,” he said.