After receiving a standing ovation at the USA’s New York Battery Festival, followed by raving reviews from international media, Mophato dance group is back in the country and did not waste time before performing at Maitisong theatre. The leading man for the dance titled ‘Pula’ is Kalima Mipata. He showcases his amazing dancing prowess in the musical. The musical explores what Pula means to Batswana and how people pray for it and then enjoy the fruits that come with it. Mophato crew shows how talented they are in terms of dance, singing and even poetry. Mipata is the artistic director of Mophato. He has been with the group for the past eight years. Mophato founder Andrew Kola brought him under his wing and taught him contemporary dance, folk dance and African dances. He perfectly learnt all the different types of dances. “After a couple of years of training with Mophato he took me to Johannesburg for intensive training and when I came back I was completely a different person,” he said. That helped a great deal in building the great dancer that he is now. Since then he has impacted on the crew with whatever that he learnt in honour of Kola who sponsored him with money from his own pocket. Mipata said he loves what he does because with Mophato he has travelled to many places, including going to Norway with the team last year and the USA this year. He missed the Germany trip due to other commitments. “Going to USA was a dream come true for most of us and that was the most startling experience because the people were great and there was nothing more beautiful than seeing people give us a standing ovation and all the reviews that we got made all of us feel optimistic,” he said.
Someone might have thought since they were just coming from New York they were not going to perform with their all in Botswana, but Mipata said their aim was to give the people at home even a better performance than what they did in New York. He is satisfied that they definitely did that because home will always be home. One thing that can’t go unnoticed about these great dancers is the physique – almost all of them are well toned and have incredible stamina that can last them for almost an hour. Mipata said a lot of training is a routine for them so that they can withstand long performances. He said their skill, technique and stamina need to be at par and there are different warm ups for each different routine whether it is ballet or traditional dance. He said anyone can join Mophato by coming to auditions when they have them which are usually at the beginning of the year, but the person must be willing to work hard. To Mipata, as complex as it might seem, performing to him is just fun and he does his best always. He is aware that sometimes people discredit the arts for limited financial benefits, but to him it is about the love and the passion. He is aware that people always thought he won’t go nowhere with dance, but he is content that over the past two years they have shown people that it can be done and it can be worthwhile.