“As soon as I hear music, automatically my body starts moving – now more than ever.” – @theerealjr.
Tshepo JR Mokoena, a performer working at Universal Studio in Japan, is a professional dancer originally from South Africa. Born in Mpumalanga and raised in KwaZulu Natal, he started dancing at the age of 11 as a ‘Krumper’ and fell in love with dance. Later on in his life, he moved to Pretoria to broaden his knowledge on dance and had the opportunity to train in other dance forms such as ballet, African, tap, contemporary and Jazz, with urban choreography and freestyling being his chosen form of dance(although, he mentions, he will still use tools from the different art forms that he was trained in).
What inspires you to dance?
One of my latest discoveries was realizing that my favourite artist is God, who is everyday creating a new art in this world. The sun never rises and sets the same on any given day. God is my inspiration to dance, being able to experience his art everyday and be a part of it as an agent of his word, beauty and truth
How would you describe your genre of dancing?
To be honest, it always felt like it’s not nailed down to a specific genre but a combination of different genres and inspirations that come together as one expression of art through movement and dance.
How has dance changed your day-to-day life?
I have discovered my passion and what truly moves my heart, which is dance. Dance has changed so much in my life. I have found what I truly love, need and what I want to do for the rest of my life.
How does your identity come to life through dance?
When I dance I escape to a better place, a place where everything that has weighed me down does not exist. I feel so much at peace and control. I release all that I feel. I tell stories through dance and this has helped me heal from situations that I once thought I would not be able to overcome.
How do you make your identity come to life through dance?
Letting God be the driving agent of my artistic direction. Yes, I do train hard and work on my dancing a lot but the essence and identity in which I live my life through dance all comes from God.
Is dance something that could strengthen and build a community and a family?
Yes, it definitely is with the mindset and correct driving agent of your artistic direction. Not only can this effect strengthen and build communities/families; it can and will ripple through the world and restore world peace.
Do you feel more at home in your skin when you dance?
As soon as I hear music, automatically my body starts moving – now more than ever. The greatest creator of all time which is God inspires this connection between music and dance and has created a home for me to paint his vision and truth. Dance is my Home. God is my Home. I love my Home.