Faces of Africa – Nikhita’s Dancing Feet

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Nikhita Winkler is a Namibian dancer who has found a way of expressing life through her blend of both contemporary and traditional dances. With the aim of taking Namibian to global heights through dance, she is able to express her life in the multicultural society in the way she knows best.

“Dance is more than just expressing through the body. It tells a story about who you are and where you come from,” told Nikhita Winkler, Dancer, and Choreographer.

Nikhita’s passion for dance started when she was just three years. It was a photo of a ballerina that kicked off her desire to become a dancer from such a young age.

Throughout her dancing career, Nikhita has been greatly supported by her family and friends, and especially her mother, who never missed any of her performances.

Nikhita and her mother, Pearl Mohamed going through her childhood photos as a young ballerina

“I knew when she was small to let her do her thing because she had the passion. It’s the only thing I could say would make her a success,” told Pearl Mohamed, Nikhita’s mother.

Coming from the second least densely populated country in the world, Nikhita attended Skidmore College in the United States where she studied Contemporary Dance and Choreography. She found that people there were very competitive and a lot of opportunities.

But after completing her degree in 2015, she decided to return to Namibia. At the beginning, it was challenging because she was predominantly trained in Western forms of dance that detached her from the audience back home.

Nikhita Winkler during her graduation at Skidmore College in the United States

“As someone who is both of Western and African mix blood, I found that important to integrate African dance into my work,” said the Namibian dancer.

Nikhita then sorted out ways in which she could draw in and connect with more Namibian audience in her performances. She first started training with Tilie Nanghama, an Ovambo dance instructor because the Ovambo people are the largest of Namibia ethnic group, making up roughly half of the population.

And in order to understand more traditional dances, Nikhita is in in the process of joining the group Makgona Ngwao that celebrates the Tswana culture, a minority population from eastern Namibia.

“I started this group to make sure the culture stays there,” says Onalenna Mogotsi, the founder of Makgona Ngwao dance group.

Nikhita and her partner, West Uarije performing at a fundraising gala dinner

Nikhita encourages the use of different dance spaces for performances because she believes that people should experience dance differently. With her dance partner West Uarije, they have been practicing for Windhoek International Dance Festival that they will perform together to introduce a different aspect on different spaces in dance.

Nikhita teaching young children ballet

Nikhita also spends most of her time giving private lessons to promising students at The College of Arts where she learned her first steps as a little ballerina. She shares her passion for dance teaching ballet at a facility built for the children living nearby by The Dutch NGO “Orange Babies”.

Nikhita is able to dance, share her dream, and continue inspiring young dancers to get better.

“I have started the journey of finding my story,” said Nikhita Winkler.

 

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