Cedric Heber from Buffalo Flats also found that shortcut during a trying time in his life and is now sharing it with others.
Heber grew up in an area where gangsterism is rife. When he lost his mother in 2000 he had two options to deal with his grief – find comfort in street gangs or find a positive way to overcome his loss.
Unfortunately he joined a gang for a while, but he soon realised being a gangster was not for him.
“I thought it was the only way of making a living but I have found a better way of living through dance.”
The 25-year-old, a personal trainer at Virgin Active health club in Quigney, left the gang to find something more constructive to do.
“I had no education and I was not good at sports. My only option was to find healing through dancing.”
Dancing brought him to look at life from a different perspective.
“I could no longer stand back and watch as the youth from my community lost their lives to street gangs, drugs and alcohol.”
To pass on the skills that brought him healing, Heber recruited boys and girls from his community and others nearby and taught them to dance.
Heber and his pupils started dancing on the streets, attracting a lot of attention, and soon both young and old showed interest.
“The youth were interested in the skills and the older community members wanted to assist in sustaining the dance project.”
Soon Heber was entering members in national dance battles.
Using his own money and contributions from other employed members, Heber recently held a dance battle in Buffalo Flats, with dance crews from as far as Cape Town and Johannesburg. Enrico Smith, who has been dancing with Heber for a decade, says Heber is a selfless person who finds joy in the success of others.
“He would do anything to put a smile on someone’s face.”
The general manager at Virgin Active, Gary Pritchard, who made a studio available to Heber and his crew for practice, said he had never met anyone like Heber . “He is the most remarkable individual who managed to soar through his grey past,” he said.
Heber hopes his dance academy will teach people to battle and win without spilling blood.
“Open your heart and fight a greater battle, which is to create a better society.” — email@example.com