About Eunice Marais School of Dance (EMSD)
EMSD opened its doors in 1984, as a little studio in the village of Irene (Centurion- Pretoria) Its director Eunice Marais, had just completed her modern dance teachers diploma and had qualified as a school teacher in the same year. For the first 20 years, the dancing school offered modern and jazz only, and in 2004 Eunice decided to explore the “world of Hip Hop” . EMSD dancers started competing in the World Championships (hosted by the International dance organisation- IDO) in 2005 and during the next 10 years achieved hip hop world champions in the solo, duo, small group, formation and production sections. The only studio in South Africa (and probably Africa) to have achieved this.
In 2004 Eunice won a National teachers award, which led to her going to Mali in West Africa with a group of students- her love of African history & her passion for dance saw the birth of a cultural exchange programme between EMSD, Irene Primary School & schools in Timbuktu & Bamako.
After serving as a school teacher for 30 years at Irene Primary, 7 of which she was the deputy principal, Eunice decided to take early retirement and focus all her attention on the upliftment and training of dancers.
Over the years EMSD has added acrobatics, Showdance, Jazz, and contemporary styles to our programme. We rely on the talents of our amazing local and international choreographers to ensure that we have the best possible choreography for our various events and competitions.
EMSD offers a teacher training programme (through our affiliation to the South African Body of Dance). By the time dancers reach their final year of schooling – and having completed all their exams- they are able to offer tuition as qualified teachers.
Objectives of EMSD:
- To encourage youngsters to participate in the arts, with the ultimate objective of participating at an international level in order to benchmark themselves against the best in the world.
- To develop & train qualified dance teachers (with skills & knowledge that will equip them to work with children/dancers)
- DANCE is part of the “beat” of our youth. Dance classes keep the children constructively occupied, especially when they are training to compete at international level. The many hours that they would spend on the streets and in malls are now been used to prepare themselves for competitions. Dance classes at EMSD teach the dancers to respect their bodies and to live healthy lifestyles.
Some of EMSD’s highlights & achievements :
5 of our dancers were selected to perform on stage with Shakira & Freshly Ground in 2010
Performed with Shakira at the 2010 Sony International Convention
Back up dancing for local & international musicians
Music videos (Danny K and The Graeme Watkins Project)
Arrive Alive road safety music video (with Glodine Makapela)
Filming of a reality show: “Bring it” with Ms Diana Williams- for Lifetime TV
2012: Performed at the Forever Living: African Rally at Sun City
2015 performed at the “Bidvest on Broadway” event- directed by Debbie Rakusin & David Bloch
TV Commercials: Sony International 3D commercial, Blue Ribbon Bread, Spekko Rice
5 of our dancers were extras in the Hollywood movie “Blended” (Drew Barrymore & Alan Sanders) which was filmed at Sun City
In 2011 & 2012 EMSD won the Mzanzi-Just Dance competition for best choreography & best performance (hosted by Joburg Ballet)
Guest performers at the University of Bochum- (Germany)
In the formation category: (24 dancers) Vice World Champions for 4 consecutive years and in 2012 we won the world championships
Production category: World champions for 4 consecutive years
Solo world champions: 4 world champion titles in the junior category
Duo World champions: 3 junior partnerships
Small group world champions: 2x World champions
Our dancers are very young, and “Exposure to Experience” (our MOTTO) is the key factor to our continuing success both locally and internationally.
EMSD offers a development programme– this allows dancers who are unable to afford tuition to still follow their dream/passion. Such dancers apply at the beginning of the year to go onto the programme. A select number of these dancers are then offered scholarships to be part of the team competing in Europe that year. EMSD then commits to finding each dancer a sponsor who will take care of their financials for the year. One of our biggest frustrations is the disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. It is a challenge that we face on a daily basis in our desire to see that talented young people are not held back from fulfilling their potential by a lack of resources.