Taking dancing to new heights: Lissa Tanaka Magwenzi shattering the glass ceiling

Dance is a form of art and only a few can call us artistes of note

By Royce Mapaike

THE local arts industry is dominated by men – with only a few women being at the helm of the reigns – while most of them prefer taking a benchwarmers stance to the industry.
Over the years the industry has played witness to the rise and demise of many female artistes, which faltered due to a number of reasons, with the main one being that of failing to cope with the pressures of the male-dominated industry.

In spite of all this, one all-female dancer – Lissa Tanaka Magwenzi is seeking to turn around the industry, while also promoting women of all walks of life.
“I started when l was five, and l’d be called to dance at parties, graduation ceremonies  and others.
The days of dancing for “exposure”  passed where you get to perform either at a school or on stage to get your name out there, to be known and to gain confidence or something along those lines.
“I used to perform at my schools’ ceremonies for free because it was not valuable to be a dancer until l worked my way out of “exposure”. Dance is a form of art and only a few can call us artistes,” said the 23 year old.
 “I chose dance because l enjoy it. I love dancing and l had the passion and talent ever since l was a little girl. A lot of people die miserable because they chose a profession that they grew up hearing about and think that those are the right ones for them but to achieve happiness and attain happiness in life it’s all about doing what you love.
“Dance brings food on my table everyday. I grew up in a certain way that not all of you would have managed to stay alive or stay focused. I started renting when l was 18 close to 19 and l’d pay rentals using dance money.
“I learnt to survive alone with no help from anyone. It is going to be my lifetime career and l am proud of it. I taught myself how to dance through watching TV, l never went to a school of music and dance,” she said.
At the tender and younger age of 23,she has managed to work with the cream of Zimbabwe artistes including Jah Prayzah’s 3rd Generation Band on stage  and featuring on videos.
Artistes like, Trevor Dongo, Ammara Brown, Chengeto Brown, Killer T, Stunner, Diamond Boys, Coco Master, Nyasha David, Simba Tags, Ninja Kid, Vimbai Zimuto, Patoranking, Nutty O, Tha New Guy, Ex Q and Tocky Vibes.
Each time the name Lissa Tanaka is mentioned or even whispered, thoughts of a buxom but extremely energetic dancer famed for her jaw-dropping dance moves come to mind.
Lissa, as she is popularly known among her legion of fans, has been one of the country’s hottest properties for a long time and has lit up countless corporate events.
Many of us are guilty of not having taken enough time to look beyond the image the media had constructed around Lissa Tanaka that of a sexy dancer with nothing but dance moves choreographed to make men ogle and salivate without shame.
Of course this was all in a bid to sell not just the young artiste but the videos she features as well.
 However, years later, Lissa has gone on to prove many of us wrong. She has survived criticism, bad mouthing, and a lot of negatives to emerge a winner and a true example what a focused artiste can achieve.
Like her or hate her, Lissa Tanaka has become a brand. A serious brand for that matter.

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