The beauty of dance is that it is a universal language and there are incredible dance educators all over the globe inspiring the next generation. In Uganda, choreographer Mubiru David Mazzina is using dance to set his young students up for success in life.

Mazzina got involved in dance, thanks to his older brother, who used to dance during family gatherings. At the age of 12, he became a dancer. His love of teaching and choreography continues now with the UGAdance Kids Africa crew that he formed in 2018.

The crew, comprised of 10 kids from the ages of 5-17 years old, are lucky to fall under Mazzina’s tutelage. He’s hoping to make an impact on the dancers, who mostly come from underserved communities.

“I aim to bring back hope to the kids coming from low-income families — creating confidence and self-esteem,” Mazzina said. “[Performing with the crew also] provides them with school fees through dance and it improves their livelihood. I hope this creates an alternative career path [for them].”

It’s important to understand the foundations of dance in Uganda. It’s not just a physical activity, it’s something that draws the country together.

“In Uganda, we regard dance as something that can lead change in our lives, it creates love and togetherness,” he said. “It’s through dance that we come to interact with people from diverse backgrounds. Dance, rooted in different origins and creations, relays the information to the rest of the world.”

Like every other dance crew, COVID-19 did affect their rehearsal schedule, but they’ve been able to get back on track. They rehearse every day for two hours and shoot their weekly video on Fridays.

Mazzina wants his young students to dream big and achieve their goals, whether they become professional dancers or not. He also hopes to draw more attention to the dance crew through social media and their YouTube channel.

“I want to build a good dance studio for them, make the kids known everywhere in the world and make sure they get a good education,” he shared. I also want to reach out and find more kids who need the same opportunity.”

For Mazzina, his work with the UGAdance Kids Africa crew has been a game-changer in his career. As a dance educator, it’s had an emotional impact on him.

“Working with children has helped me discover my capabilities beyond dancing,” he summed up. “I want to create great ideas and future plans for the kids so they can continue to dream big.”