UK-based choreographer and dance ballet trainer Shane Ishimwa Muhimanyi has been a performing artist for the past seven years.
The Rubavu-born dancer, who left for London at only seven years, was part of dance companies in the Netherlands and Belgium before starting his own ballet company in London.
The 27 year-old also used to teach dance at the University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences.
He spoke to Sunday Magazine’s Eddie Nsabimana about his journey to becoming a performing arts pioneer and his experience as a ballet trainer.
How did you end up in the performing arts?
My first love was athletics but after getting injured my teacher told me to try dancing classes after rehabilitation since my legs were not strong to continue running.
I auditioned for a ballet school. I didn’t have any shoes and I didn’t really look like I deserved to be there. But I later went back at the age of 17.
What performing arts do you focus on as a professional?
For me, my language is movement, I am interested in anything related to movement. It does not have to be just dance, it has to be the study of the body and how it moves, how it transforms in accordance with space. That is where I find myself most excited.
Is the journey to becoming a professional ballet trainer in UK difficult?
For me, it was not a journey, it was more of an accident because I did not plan to be a dancer. I should say that I never chose dance, dance chose me. It was more like I stumbled on it.
It was my last option because I never thought I could make income out of it. I said to my dad I was going to get a job but he thought dance is not something that can give you a lot of money.
What are some of the biggest events that you have performed at so far?
I have taken part in many events but some of big performances I can pick out include the International Arts Festival in Bristol. I also had performances at a dance festival in San Francisco and then in Toulouse, France.
What are some of the remarkable achievements in your professional career as a dancer and a trainer?
One of the major achievements that I can point out is being one of only a few students that got a distinction in my post graduate degree course at St Martins College.
How do you tell your stories through performing arts?
It depends on your medium. Because performing arts is a very broad thing. I always think of the best way of telling the story. Sometimes you can tell the story through singing, dancing or writing.