We have been a fan of your work for a while now. Not only your breaking, but just how your brand has evolved over the years. I would firstly like to thank you for taking this interview and I will try keep it as short as possible as I know you are very busy during this time. [Laughs].
Dance Africa Network: For those who don’t know who you are, could you please introduce yourself.
Wooda: I’m Sihle aka Wooda, originally from Durban. I’m a Bboy turned performer. I’ve been breaking for thirteen years and performing for ten.
Dance Africa Network: You are originally from KZN right? How and why Johannesburg?
Wooda: I moved to Gauteng (Pretoria) to study five or six years ago. Then I moved to Johannesburg, Midrand, once I started doing performing gigs.
Dance Africa Network: You are a breaker, studied drama (we stand under correction) and now you are practicing photography. Did you plan that or is it something that naturally occurred?
Wooda: [Laughs] I studied Musical Theatre, which is a little bit different from drama. Well, with photography, it’s not something I’m doing full time as yet because I’ve only had my camera for four months. So I’m still learning. I didn’t really plan it; friends suggested it should be something I consider, because I’d always ask to take pictures of them using my phone.
Dance Africa Network: Which camera and lenses do you use?
Wooda: I’m using a Canon 80D. I have a 50mm and 17-24mm and a Canon 17-40mm.
Dance Africa Network: What do you enjoy taking pictures of?
Wooda: I enjoy shooting people the most. I’m still trying to find my style but I think I’m leaning towards portraits.
Dance Africa Network: Whose work inspires you in terms of photography?
Wooda: When I started, I watched a lot of Peter McKinnon. He’s more of a filmmaker but his photography style is amazing.
Dance Africa Network: Can we talk about the deal you have with Reebok? How did you manage to get endorsed by Reebok and how has that helped your brand and, perhaps, their brand?
Wooda: [Laughs] Well, it’s not so much of an endorsement but I’m more of their (I hate this term) Social Media Influencer. It started back when I was in Durban in 2013, the head office was there before moving to Cape Town. I sent my profile to Geoffrey Speirs (Durban team) with all the things I’ve done (dance related) and how I can get the brand seen by a lot of people because I was always on stage. It wasn’t doing so well back then, like how it is now. I jumped on that opportunity, seeing a gap and how I could utilize it.
It has helped me a lot being associated with Reebok because it’s a brand I’ve been wearing for seven years. It helps with identity because of what I do. I specifically chose Reebok back then because of their old school street wear, sneakers and Classics range. As a Bboy, I figured it a great idea to have a clothing brand to be identified with. I wanted people to have an image of me when they see Reebok and visa versa.
Dance Africa Network: Based on your twitter bio, what would you say is an ordinary Bboy? [Laughs]
Wooda: [Laughs] You went through my Twitter? Well, in most cases, people perceive dancers as just dancers. They don’t know that some of us have degrees in medicine, law, media etc. So an ordinary Bboy in my opinion is a Bboy that’s only doing Breaking (A style of dance, the original dance style of hip-hop) and not thinking outside the box.
Dance Africa Network: How can one think outside the box?
Wooda: Expand your possibilities by not focusing on one skill or boxing yourself under one style of dancing.
Dance Africa Network: The team at Dance Africa Network has been debating about whom the top three youngest and highest paid dance creatives in SA are. Who would you say are the Top 3 Youngest and Highest Paid Dance Creatives in South Africa?
Wooda: [Laughs]. I’m not so sure, hey. People have different ways of getting their money. Others do three gigs a month, others five soooo… You must also remember, there are choreographers who also dance in the same gig so they might get paid double. [Laughs]. It’s a tricky one.
Why are people so scared to say who they think the highest paid dance creative in South Africa is? [Laughs.] However, fair enough. We respect your “politically correct opinion”. Thank you so much for your time. Please do keep us updated if there are any projects you will be taking up in the future. In the meantime, we will be supporting you and your work online.