Jonty Stander is a respectful, humble, hard worker with a great personality. His hunger to learn and interest in street fashion has complimented his passion for dancing in his pursuit to impact lives with his talent. The self-taught entertainer has made the most of YouTube tutorials and dance movies- seeing him perform live on SABC 1’s YoTv, as well as a crowd of approximately 4000 people at the Zululand Trade Fair in Richards Bay. In December 2016 he travelled to Los Angeles for an arts convention he was invited to, attending workshops and performing in front of LA based agents helping him get the right mindset to pursue a career in dancing. Waptrendz was able to catch up with the dancer as he unpacked the mechanisms behind his craft as well as highlights from his journey so far.
What was your childhood like compared to your life now, how has it changed?
“My childhood was very different in terms of me dancing. I could not dance at all as a kid. I was that ‘typical white guy’ in terms of Rhythm. When I was 7 my parents got divorced and we moved to a town called Eshowe in KZN. My mother worked at Shakaland which was a tourist attraction [and] we stayed on the resort. I grew up being the only white boy in the resort as all other kids were Zulu- this is how I learnt the language. I attended high school in Empangeni which is another town in KZN- this is where I was exposed to the art of dancing.”
Do you belong to any agency, clubs or groups in society?
“I belong to an agency called Just You Model and Artist Management, the agency sends me to auditions for TV commercials and local TV series. I also help at a church in the South of Johannesburg with an Anti-substance abuse campaign where we reach out and spread awareness as well as run a rehabilitation centre. I perform at the outreaches in front of the kids as well as teach workshops at the rehabilitation centre to help spread the love and joy that dance brings.”
Who has been a great source of support in your journey so far?
“The most supportive person in my career will have to be Elsubie Verlinden. It feels like she took me under her wing and has constantly been giving me advice, teaching me about tips and tools in the industry. Getting me gigs and so forth [is] part of the reason why I had the courage to move to Johannesburg.”
After relocating to Johannesburg, Jonty Stander went on set for 10 different international and national brands including KFC, Edgars, FNB, Vodacom, McDonalds and more. He also featured as the lead dancer in a Cover advert. Jonty was also booked as a young journalist on the new international film “The Rivonia Trial” and was invited to perform at the Soweto Theatre after a radio interview he had.
What has been your proudest achievement in your journey so far?
“Winning the City Lights talent search in 2016. Opening for Nasty C and K.O. at the Zululand Trade Fair. Being asked to perform at a Christmas event at my towns shopping centre and having my parents there to watch. Being asked to Judge at the South African Dance Institute awards in 2017 and while they were handing out the awards this little 6-year-old got called to come and collect her badge and when she got it she went and sat on stage in between all the other contestants and just held it in her little hands and kept smiling at it.”
The “City Lights” talent search cash prize along with the money made being on set allowed Jonty to pay for his whole trip to Hollywood. In December his performance at Arts Hollywood saw him receive 9 call backs including one from Nelson Diaz manager of dancers such as Twitch (lead choreographer for Step Up and So You Think You Can Dance America) and Cyrus (So You Think You Can Dance winner) and many more. Jonty was offered a contract to work and relocate to Los Angeles.
What is the dream behind your craft and why?
“My dream is to run my own studio and camp and eventually branch out all over South Africa inspiring people to start dancing and to inspire dancers to keep dancing. I also want to expose dancers to choreographers from all over South Africa as well as some international choreographers so that we can improve ourselves. I also want to host an event at the end of each camp and invite studios and corporate companies and entertainment companies to scout at the event to help get dancers gigs so that they can see dancing as a career and not a hobby. The camp is also to teach the dancers about the business side of the industry and how to manage one’s self. I want to do this because I want to dance full time because dancing is my happiness”
Jonty Stander is also Chief Executive Officer for Stander Marketing Solutions. Below are details to keep in touch as the South African realises his dreams and impacts more lives.
Contact details for Jonty Stander:
Social media handle for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and twitter @jontystander
Email address: [email protected]
081 794 3939