Zimbabwean music has been reaching beyond the country’s borders through its high definition videos that are being shown on various DStv channels such as Trace Africa, MTV Base, Channel O and Trace Gospel.
These channels have been featuring a range of performers and are exposing them to the people of Africa. But, it’s not only the music and the musicians who have been getting a boost but also choreographers of these HD videos since dances of music videos are eagerly followed by viewers.
The popularity of these dances has led to the birth of dance challenges such as the Jerusalema and John Vul’igate.
Locally, the man behind the choreography of most videos is John Cole who is gaining popularity because of his innovative dances that have been backing up great Zimbabwean sounds.
He has been in this journey of dance and choreography for almost 10 years and feels the effort and hard work in getting established and known is paying off.
“With humility, I can say I have worked, sweated and bled for what I have achieved today, which is what I call the #dancewithjohncole experience,” he said.
“I am who I am now not because of my own effort, of course, as many people have supported, encouraged and helped me along the way, with likes, love, referrals and hiring me to do the job. So I say that John Cole is the people’s choreographer and that the real heroes are the ones who support me; so thank you, everyone!”
He believes a combination of elements drove him down his current path and he told sceptics and detractors: “I will do it.”
“Edric Godzongere mentored me to be a choreographer and he says he is proud of the choreographer that I am today. My mother was a big influence too as she danced with me most of the time I was young.”
To get where he is now, he had to sacrifice family time, sleep and a lot of good times. He expresses himself in his art and “I dance it rather than say it.”
Dancing with his sons on stage provides some of his happiest moments, while helping develop the dance landscape in Zimbabwe and helping dance become more respected are life highlights, as was his sold-out concert John Cole Unplugged some time ago.
His inspiration comes from international and local sources from Usher and Chris Brown to various African artistes of top-end creativity. John also feels success comes from a mix of professionalism, drive, focus and vision – “added to which is a hustler’s mentality,” he said with tongue in cheek.
“To succeed you must always be hungry to be the best,” he said.
Videos featuring his dance creations include Xhexhe with Ashta Eez, who is at present based in Poland. Others feature the likes of Mukoko, Ngoro, Setter Pace, Watora Moyo, Ngaibake and Tinofamba Nenyasha.
“No lie – it’s an awesome feeling watching these on DStv, knowing millions could be watching with me” he said.
John also became involved in the annual DStv Eutelsat Star Awards competition, mentoring high school students who wished to enter. “That was a fun experience and I was thrilled the students were well versed with who I am and what I have done,” said John.
“It’s mind blowing, because as a boy who sold vegetables and was a gardener, you can imagine the jump from there to here. I am glad DStv channels see my work as viable, visible and bankable as a whole. Thanks to Liz Dziva of MultiChoice Zimbabwe for helping make it happen.”