A local dancing and choreography talent, Stanley Mareka has been lighting up stages while taking Namibia and Africa by storm with his creatively authentic dance steps.
After a challenging childhood coupled with sheer determination, Stanley created Equipped Dancing Academy in 2005. Soon after he achieved one of his many accolades, including Best Kuduru Dancer in Luanda, Angola in 2008.
2013 saw him the winner of the Windhoek Lager March Ambassador competition, followed closely by his selection as the East Germany Dance Champion in 2014. In 2015, he was cast for the Lion King Production in Hamburg, Germany. Currently, he is a Channel O Dance Africa Freestyle Champion in the African Contemporary category and Ambassador of the German Institute in Lagos, Nigeria.
Born in Windhoek thirty years ago, Stanley started his education at A.I Steenkamp Primary School, matriculating at Jan Jonker Afrikaner. Stanley participated in the inter-school cultural dance competitions at the time, a first for their school. “Because of my manners and always trying new things out, I was the main actor; pulling the crowd to my school. We came second in that competition,” he says.
As news spread of his freestyle talent, he quickly developed a following of fans and adopted the nickname, Boneless. He got introduced to Tronix Days (Zula Entertainment) who invited him to join his crew at a dance battle at UN Plaza.
After founding the Equipped Dance Academy he was later introduced to a freestyler, Moria Ntehelang and the academy began dancing for artists such as Snazzy, Verdicts, Jossy Jossie and many more.
“Ever since, many dancers wanted to be part of the group. I decided, why not teach them our styles and make money to survive. That … brought us money and the academy was officially born,” he says.
Its approach is unique, integrating and holistic. “The academy introduces new projects such as the Equipped Dance Society Program to foster integrity and inspire creativity in… performers,” says Stanley.
Thirteen years since the academy was founded, it’s developed a glowing international reputation. Simultaneously, Stanley has become one of Namibia’s leading individuals focused on developing strong and expressive young dancers, by combining arts, education and discipline.
Stanley says dancing has inspired him in a spiritual way. “It takes you to the moon and back. It also touches me so much seeing people watching me so intensely and at the end, I receive a huge joyful round of applause. Dancing for me is like a healing. A medicine.”
This year, his aim is to work actively to get dance recognised as a sport in Namibia and included into dance education at platforms like College of the Arts (COTA). He would like to see skilful dancers making a living from their art at regular events to allow the market to invest more in dancers instead of seeing it as a hobby. “I also want our cultural movements to grow abroad and to sell the country in arts and culture (internationally),” he says.
In dancing, Stanley practices all Namibian cultural trends: African contemporary, hip-hop, gumboots and kwaito. He also practices classical ballet, ballroom, b-boy, horton, graham, cunnihaim and jazz, modern and contemporary techniques. So far, he says, dancing has taught him respect, dedication, honour and hope.
This year, his academy is planning on celebrating its 25th birthday in April and will include a mass choreography event.
“During the birthday celebrations, we plan on having industry players such as musicians, media personalities and fellow dancers who will be paying tribute to the ‘The Dancing Godfather’ in the land,” he says.