NIKHITA Winkler (NW) also known as the Namibian Dancing Queen is a woman of many talents. She went to primary school at Holy Cross Convent, completed her high school at Windhoek High. She proceeded with her studies at Red Cross Nordic United World College (Norway) and graduated with Honours from Skidmore College (New York, USA) in Dance Performance with a concentration in Neuroscience. During a tête-à-tête with Confidente’s Sanae Kiunsi (SK), the dance sensation opened up on her passion for dance and work.
SK: Can you briefly describe yourself and your work?
NW: My name is Nikhita Winkler. I am also Noluthando, abundant with love as is the meaning of my traditional name. I am in the process of becoming, constantly transforming, and learning about myself every day. I am a minimalist, free spirited, creative and spiritual being. I am an artist. My daily job is in dance education, youth development, and I am a new business owner. I spend a lot of time healing in order to manifest my greater purpose in the world.
SK: Who and What inspired your work?
NW: My passion for dance and the opportunities I was privileged to have, including the scholarships I was blessed with and the support I had from my family and friends inspired me to do what I do. What keeps me inspired is my students and the passion that they have for dance and the arts. To witness how dance, as a tool to influence positive change in someone’s life, has empowered young children and adults is very inspiring and gives me life. But I also live freely, which means I am able to be driven by a higher power who guides me along this path.
SK: What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
NW: I have accomplished many great things throughout my life. I see every success as a great accomplishment because it might be small for me but big for someone else, or vice versa. In my professional work I have established a number of empowerment projects. The Nikhita Winkler Dance Theatre was founded this year and trains children from the age of 4years up in Hip-hop, Contemporary and Traditional dance. The Nikhita Winkler Dance Project (NWDP) teaches Dance to children in disadvantaged communities, empowering these vulnerable children through movement, and Street Style Stories which is a project under NWDP has also been a huge success for the past two years in empowering young talented dancers from all backgrounds, teaching them how to dance with purpose from the stories that define them. In my personal and spiritual life, I have accomplished a few transformations on the road less travelled. These transformations have opened up very important doors at the various stages of my growth.
SK: What are some of the setbacks you’ve experienced in your profession?
NW: Lack of support for arts from government, private sector and unity within the dance commu n it y. As an owner of a dance school, we need more qualified and skilled dance teachers to expand our programs, but we have to constantly fight egos on who wants to do their own thing versus building something together.
SK: What have been the up and downs of your profession in Namibia?
NW: You must first go down to go up so we start with the downs. I will answer this question from the perspective of the creative industry as it directly affects my work as a Dance educator. Artists are not yet made relevant to the progressions in society; therefore generating money to support art programs has not been an easy journey. More partnerships need to be established, and more internship opportunities, whereby, our students in the creative field can get more practical and real world experience in a professional setting. We need to create our own curriculums that reflect our culture and traditions. Our current curriculums are adopted from the Western world and do not give us a competitive advantage in the world. Students don’t have the culture of volunteering and want to get paid for everything they do. We need to establish certain standards and start to introduce awards for artists across the board to acknowledge the important work that many of our local artists are doing, not only musicians and film or theatre makers. I can go on and on… but I’ll keep the rest for another conversation? The ups are that we are making progress. I have worked my way into various groups of influencers to continue spreading awareness of the importance of Arts and Culture and I continue to spread my wings where ever the wind blows me.
SK: Could you expand on your social projects? Giving back to the community
NW: Currently we are running a dance program in only one school in Otjomuise, Pappa Center under the Orange Babies Foundation. We teach these children in a classroom and every year they get more and more. So I have envisioned a sustainable plan to expanding our community projects without limiting the number of students we can accommodate and without compromising on the quality of art education that we provide. At the same time giving better opportunities to further develop the skills of those children who show great passion and talent for dance within the larger group. The more money we make, the more Dance teachers we can employ, and as a result we can expand our community projects and provide better opportunities for all parties involved.
SK: How would you advise Namibians with similar passion to yours, to approach the field?
NW: Do not ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Your passion is your guide to your greater purpose and in this day and time, you must spend your precious time doing what you love and sharing that love in ways that can inspire others to do what they love. So much has already been attempted and so much has already been done. If you share the same visions with someone who has already established a foundation, instead of working in isolation, join forces and build on that which already is. Money follows ideas, but ideas need to be manifested. In our creative field we have the ideas but we need strong leaders (and not everyone is a leader) and a strong team consisting of diverse skills who believe in a common vision to plan and execute the greater goal. How can we expect support from others when we do not even support each other?
SK: Anything else you want to add that we haven’t covered?
NW: This is my advice to parents, when your child shows commitment towards something positive, that something matters to them. It is, therefore, important that you support your child in the things that matter to them. Parents need to start showing up at performances to make their children feel valued. You never know in what context your child’s greatness can be nurtured, and I am sure all parents want to see their child achieve success and greatness. If you want to see your child shine than you must show up to the things that matter to them, and not the things that matter to you as a parent. That is the least you can do, to show up. Support has carried me through so I know its power to empower.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015