Sasha dances her way to the top

From left, are Yakin Pillay, Cha Cha Dance Academy founder Sasha Benjamin and Kaylyn Thomas.

After opening her dance school two years ago, Sasha Benjamin plans big things for her dancers this year.

Ms Benjamin opened the Kenilworth-based Cha Cha Dance Company in 2016, which specialises in hop-hop and contemporary dance.

“I used to go with my mom to pick up my sisters at dance class. I was five at the time and asked my mom to sign me up,” she said.

When Ms Benjamin reached the senior group at Silver Leaf Dance Academy, she was often asked to help out with the little ones. The academy, however, did not offer any hip-hop classes and Ms Benjamin started a girls hip-hop group, Soventix Junior and Soventix, while at South Peninsula High School.

The 27-year-old from Grassy Park took her love for dance further and completed her dance teacher’s diploma at UCT.

While studying at UCT, she was involved in arranging dance competitions and facilitating workshops.

She decided to take it a step further and opened the dance school.

“I founded Cha Cha Dance Company not only to teach dance classes but also as a platform to manage dance events for dancers, choreographers and teachers,” she said.

Last year, the students took part in their first dance competition, the Hip Hop International South Africa dance competition, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

“The students did extremely well in such a prominent and professional competition. Now that they’ve experienced the big stage, they want more,” she said.

The school will put on two theatre shows this year and will take part in the Take to the Stage Festival dance competition in May.

“I would also like to add more dance styles such as acrobatics and ballet to our class offerings,” she said.

The classes take place every Saturday at the Kenilworth Presbyterian Church hall.

Students range in age from 4 to 17 years old and the classes are open to girls and boys. Contact Ms Benjamin at chachaevents021@gmail.com or 063 963 9569 for more information.