Rwanda's entertainment industry is growing at a steady pace with all players doing their part to ensure its progress. One of the players includes choreographers who are storytellers that give dance a voice. As we celebrate women this month, The New Times highlights Rwandan female choreographers who are on the rise. Shakira Kayitare The 20-year-old has been a professional dancer since 2018. In her experience however, some people are yet to start respecting the profession. “Some people don’t really respect this profession because they believe that a girl doing this is a badly behaved one and call us names. However, we are so thankful that with time some are understanding the profession,” she told The New Times Commonly known on social media as Shakira_Kay, the dancer said that being a choreographer is not just about entertainment but also a sport and relaxing, a mental healing process and of course one can do it for a living as any other business. When asked about how parents react to this profession she said, “It is nice and the industry is growing so amazing. Seeing some parents comprehend that this generation is doing its things professionally is great. Our parents become more than proud when they realise that we do this for a living and we sometimes support them financially.” Shakira_Kay dance moves appear in ‘Boo and Bae’ by Alyn Sano, ‘Wherever You Go’ by Eloi El, ‘Selebura’ by Bruce Melody, ‘Ndatinda’ by Jowest, ‘We Don’t Care’ by Meddy ft Rayvanny, ‘Player’ by Knowless, ‘Basi Sori’ by Passy kKpa ft Chris Easy just to mention a few. She advised fellow young ladies who are willing to join the profession to be more confident, never give up, talk to their parents and let them know that it is a career like any other. Saddie Uwase Saddie Vybes is both a professional dancer and a dance tutor. “When I was so sad with loads of depression, dancing became my rescue and since then my world changed for the better. It was a hard decision to make since some people say that a female dancer is exposed to the evil world. Little do they know that some join this career to escape those bad behaviors instead,” she told The New Times. “I call upon women passionate about dance to join us. Regardless of how negative we may be perceived, dancing is part of African culture and I encourage all women to never be discouraged at all.” Jeanne Ada Umugwaneza Jeanne Ada Umugwaneza, 29, started dancing at a young age and later became a professional choreographer. She has been doing traditional dance since 2007 and later joined contemporary dance in 2010. She acquired a professional dance diploma in 2017. She said, “I am a living testimony to confirm that one can dance for a living. I am a dance teacher and I encourage fellow women to shine and never take dance for granted.” Ringa Naej Marthe Since Ringa was 12, she has been dancing but made it a profession in 2020 when she was 19. “Rwandans are yet to understand this profession and I hope that this will happen. I am not urging every woman to be a dancer, but if you have any dream, chase it and don’t let the back stabbers get to you. Get out of your comfort zone,” she said. Ringa reminded other female choreographers that they are winners who accepted to take a step further while they were not supported. Divine Uwayezu Uwayezu told The New Times that her occupation has been dancing since 2016 and she has choreographed for different music videos like ‘Ready’ by Bwiza, ‘Jolie’ by Kenny Sol, ‘Radiyo’ by Aline Sano, and many others. She said that since they can be invited to dance in different ceremonies attended by some high profile people, it is a sign of respect. “The fact that I was born with this talent of dancing, should be respected just like someone who was gifted with the talent of playing football. I am glad that my parents supported me in this journey and some of us are feeding our families due to being well disciplined and professional dancers. If our people can stop judging us negatively, we can elevate way bigger,” said Divine. Nadia Uwase Uwase began dancing in 2014, and has since performed in music videos like ‘Seka’ by Niyo Bosco, ‘Lotto’ by Kenny Sol ft Okkama, ‘Sawa’ by Nel Ngabo, ‘Iyoroshye’ by DJ Marnaud ft Mike Kayihura and many more. She is happy that the dance industry is gaining more love and respect with time. “Women in all fields of vitality are amazing. Mothers who gave us life should be forever celebrated. Women doing choreography should also be celebrated,” she said.