Dancing, choreography and live performances are a far cry from the grungy world of gangsterism, drugs and street life, but dance is where a proud Ashley Beyers (20 years) finds himself after a tough couple of years as a frustrated and confused teen in a rough neighbourhood.
Ashley is now one of the most talented dancers at the Zinto Marketing Group, brand activation specialists, after leaving drugs and gangsterism behind him. Recently voted SA's best popper for 2009 by the SA Hip Hop Dance Association, this urban dance prodigy is self-taught having learnt from the music videos of Michael Jackson and Usher from the age of two. His dance style is a funky mixture of b-boying, popping and locking that has seen him dancing along side the likes of HHP and Jamali, as well as at various awards ceremonies and competitions.
Having moved from KZN to Johannesburg in his early teens, Ashley unfortunately experienced a tough upbringing falling into the trap of gangsterism, drug abuse and intimidation. However, dance remained a huge part of his life, and he continued to use it to express his emotions providing a release from the pressures of daily life in a dangerous neighbourhood. In certain communities, dance is used to settle disputes between warring youth groups in a respectful and non-aggressive manner. It was this culture that enabled Ashley to focus his talent and ultimately make the right decisions to remove himself from the negative influences of certain gangs.
Ashley is a respected dancer and crew member of several shows and performances that Zinto Marketing Group produces for their wide-ranging clients. After presenting his talent to the founder of Zinto Marketing Group, Michelle Combrinck, Ashley has used his talent to make brands come to life on stage. He has danced for well-known brands such as Yum-Yum, MTN and Dole Fruit as Zinto Marketing Group understands that dance is a successful way of reaching a captive audience for their clients. Ashley agrees that dance transcends language and cultural barriers and through various styles of dance, Ashley and his team members from Zinto are able to communicate important messages to the audience in a fun, interactive and lively approach. Ashley and Zinto share a common philosophy where everything they do is delivered with passion, verve and they give it ‘their all'. Even more so, Zinto means ‘all things' in Xhosa ensuring that the teams have the capability, resources and drive to handle any task from start to finish.
As the ideal role model, he is currently involved in teaching young dance talent, motivating the youth to embrace their talent and to make a success of their gifts as he has. Role-modelling to younger generations from similar backgrounds, his ultimate dream is to take affordable dance workshops on the road into the communities, communicating that gangsterism does not pay and encouraging them to find their niche and to grasp onto it.
Not only does dance provide exercise and develop motor skills, it also teaches focus, discipline and social skills to the youth. Zinto Marketing Group has therefore developed the Hot House Dance Academy which invites the youth from all backgrounds noting its low entrance fee to take part in one-hour workshops on Saturdays and during school holidays for R70 a session. Ashley is proof that something like the Hot House Dance Academy has the potential to provide direction and passion for young South Africans and help make dance a fulfilling and rewarding career.