• Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

One on one with Davilla, a Kenyan ballet instructor, dancer and choreographer.

1. What was your dream career as a kid?

My dream career as a kid was becoming a sprinter.

2. How long have you been dancing?

I have been dancing for 9 years. I started dancing in 2012, with Ghetto Exposed dance school and graduated in 2014.In 2016 I started teaching and taking ballet classes at Dance Centre Kenya until 2018 where I joined the Academy of Dance and art to pursue Higher studies in Ballet untill now.

3. Tell us about Davilla ballet school. When you started it? Why you started it?How you balance running it with your social and professional life.

DavillahBalletSchool (DBS) is my home, my dance school. Currently based at valley arcade. It was started in 2018 October. My main reason for DBS is because I get lots of questions about ballet mostly regarding the color of my skin , my body shape( African body) my age, when I started, if its possible and stuff and I just wanted my people, my kids and the kids that I teach to know that there is no limit to what we can do.. I wanted to show this through more than just being a dancer, I wanna be It by giving our kids THAT HOME.
I honestly can’t call it a balance, more like prioritising what and when. Sometimes I cancel on people/jobs to stay home chill or do whatever with my babies.


4. Fitness and dancing. Would you say one is as a result of the other?What is the relationship between the two?

In my opinion there are different types of dancing and different genres and not all of them require fitness, Odi for example is Kaende kaende(chuckles) no fitness needed it's a vibe, BUT to be a professional dancer you have to be for and I don't mean body type as most people assume that being fit is being skinny, you can be skinny and unfit, curvy and fit. Dance can be used as a tool to keep fit.

To me personally I've always wanted more, I'm a certified fitnesss coach and this is because I wanted to understand human bodies in detail and the best way to help my clients achieve their fitness goals.

5. Say I wanted to be a ballerina,where would you advice I start from? Is there an age limit?

At DavillahBalletSchool(smiles). I believe there is no age limit in anything. We have kids - adult classes. As long as you believe it, you can do it .

6. Given a choice would you change your career?

Until my bones say no. Nothing will make me change my career.

7. What are the most common challenges you encounter on a day to day basis in your line of work?

The challenge I face mostly is the fact that ballet is new here and not every one knows about it. I've been called for shows and on getting there I find a carpet like 'fir' carpet to dance on or shinny sliding flow or glass floor. I hope that with time things will get better.

8. What would you say has been the highlight of your career?


The highlight of my career was when my short dance film THE TEMPEST won me an a ladima award.

The tempest is a short dance film I did a year ago featuring my son about how Covid-19 affected our lives.

9. Who are some of the most influential people you've worked with or met in your career path?

Otile brown
Arrow bwoy
King kaka
Akothee just to mention but a few

10. What is the most fulfilling thing about what you do?

I love that I can communicate through dance.

11. Tell us about Afroballet.

Afroballet is a fusion of afro and ballet dance. It's inspired by classical ballet and the freedom in afro dance. My reason for picking afroballet as my dance genre is because as much as I learn all the new Western dance I don't ever want to forget about my culture.

12. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I see myself happy, successful and peaceful.

13. What's your creative process like while creating choreography?

While creating a choreography the first thing I do is listen to the music over and over until I internalise beats and words, then I free style and then I choreograph.

14. What advice would you give an upcoming ballerina?

One thing I can tell an upcoming ballerina is to never stop believing in themselves and what the feet can do. Training will do what talent can't HARDWORK equals Results.

15. Most of the youth today have been brought up in a 8-4-4 system and don't even know that art schools exist. What do you think would help in creating exposure for people interested in the industry but don't know where to start from?

As a parent one thing I've learnt is that it's my job to find out what my child is interested in and help nurture it. I believe there is no excuse in todays world, social media has everything, its our job to take that step.

Lizz Kira

Lizz Kira is Vazi Couture's CEO and Chief Editor, A position she has held since 2020. She is passionate about African Fashion and its impact on Social Sustainability.

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