In black T shits with orange imprint, the two boys from H2C got on stage amid loud applause from supports at the National Theatre, during the recently concluded Batalo Dance Festival. Soon, they were stretching for the 2 on 2 dance battles against Team Fahad. It was the semi-finals.
The rather lean 22 year old Ssembatya David aka DVD started popping and locking sending the crowd in a frenzy with louder applause. It was impressive how he tilted his back and motioned his hands and legs into momentary breaks. DVD was with 20 year old comrade Ntembe Denis aka Dtrix, who also brought the battle on with more hip hop dance motifs.
However, they lost this semi to Team Pirimo when Hamuza Pirimo swayed in a ballet like twirl styled right enough for a hip hop battle. Despite this fall out, H2C showed impressive dance style with given ability to pop and lock, flip and work as a team to wow an audience.
Ntembe went ahead to compete in the Krump battle with Congo’s Grace who he beat to make it to the finals. “I feel happy about the competition because one of our brothers (Dtrix) won the krump category. And we learnt a lot from the other dancers we met at Batalo- from different countries. It was a great experience for us.” said DVD. DVD too impressed in the Style Yake (free style) dance finals, even though he lost to dance tutor Walter Ruva.
H2C stands for “Here 2 Change”. It is originally a group of three (3) boys, Ntembe, Ssembatya and 21 year old Bukenya Cedric aka Cedo. The trio was the initiative of Ntembe in 2012, when in form 4, he hand -picked the best dancers in High School.
At the time DVD quadrupled as Mr. St Mary’s kitende, Best dancer at the school, Winner High School Kadanke dance competitions and Winner Hotsteps Schools competition. Bukenya (Cedo) on the other was Mr. Namilyango College (2012-2013) and the school’s Best dancer. Ntembe too had been Mr. Namilyango between 2011-2012.
“So i figured if I got all the best in one group, we would be undisputable” Ntembe said. “Before the idea to form a group, we had competed against each other a couple of times; that’s how we met!” he retorted. They are currently in second year at University. Bukenya and Ntembe at Makerere University, Ssembatya at Makerere University Business School.
When asked why they choose to dance, they resounded in unison that dance is something they are passionate about. “It great platform to exhibit our talent and creativity to the world” said Ntembe and “Our motto is “Dance To Inspire”” added Ssembatya. “We dance for a positive change”.
Besides dancing the boy are optimistic about embracing an all-round arts franchise, in fashion and modeling through”H2C fashion house” and acting which they have pursued with Devita Events and Films
They also disclosed that the biggest challenges they face is balancing studies with dancing and the heavy budgets. However, unlike most youths whose parents are oppressive of their children’s gifts in the arts, this trio has parental support.
“Our parents support our dancing to the fullest, they fund us at times, attend our shows and have introduced us to their friends who help support our cause in the industry and most of all they are proud of how far we have come” they revealed.
They argue that they are not yet at the top but that where they are puts a smile on their parents’ faces who can confidently say ‘that’s my son right there’. “It gives us utmost joy and reenergizes us to keep going and pushing ourselves to the limit to make them more proud” they said.
With a growing number of dance troupes, across the country, Batalo East is availing platforms for young people to nurture and grow technique and dance styles. H2C joins the league of yet another set of fine dancers, Tiny Free. These showcased a dance piece “Ill-Legitimate” against child labour earlier this year. They together illuminate Uganda’s future of dance, and a new breed yet to replace the reknown Faizal Mostrix, Walter Ruva, Abramz Tekya and Abdul Kiyenga…