Break dancing and breaking barriers! Courtnae’ Paul has shared the stage with international superstars such as Lil Wayne, Pitbull, Jay Sean, Akon, and Fatman Scoop to name a few. She’s also performed with some of South Africa’s biggest names in entertainment.
This Bgirl is a pioneer for South African female break dancers and dancers alike and is taking the industry by storm! We got a chance to chat with her to find out more!
Q: Thanks for joining us at Prompt Side South Africa. In a nutshell, who is Courtnae’ Paul?
Courtnae’ Paul.. Well, I am a child of the earth who loves life. I can be a bunch of contradictions by being easy going, light hearted and taking life as it comes, however I am also a serial strategist, overly deep, and on a mission to use every second I have to its full potential.
Q: When did this love for dancing begin and what was the inspiration behind it?
There was no inspiration or plan lol I started dancing randomly in my church dance group and things just took off from there. I was a gymnast and avid kickboxer, dancing was never part of my plan.
But true to itself, life has a way of preparing you for your destined path because both skills have greatly influenced my dance abilities.
Q: How did your friends and family feel about you making this a career? Did you get the support you needed?
Not at first, everyone thought it was a phase and who blames them? How could they know it was a career choice of mine if I never chose it lol.
For the longest time, my mother would insist on me getting ‘a real job’, and it was really hard without the support, or the proper training for that matter. The industry is still small so people struggle understanding how it can be a full time, sustainable job.
It took some time, but now my family are my biggest supporters.
Q: You’ve performed alongside some of the the biggest names both locally and internationally. How does this make you feel?
It makes me feel great but also reminds me that there are no limits to what I can achieve. I’ll never be done trying to break borders.
Q: What would you say has been the highlight of your career thus far?
I’ve been so blessed in my career, it’s hard to pick one highlight. I would say my entire career has been my highlight because sometimes I can’t believe how it’s playing out.
I’ve traveled, done tv, worked with top artists locally and internationally, I’ve led and choreographed commercials, 30k audience concerts, international campaigns, consulted for top corporate brands, and given back to communities. It’s all pretty surreal to me.
Q: Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
I’m always inspired by everyone around me and how they get up every morning to continue regardless of the obstacles they face.
My main inspiration would be my gran. She thinks I am crazy and what I do confuses her so much, so I find myself working harder and harder to confuse her more haha.
Q: What makes you tick?
Some cliche’s to follow : Life, love, laughter and challenges.
I am from Durban so my roots are deep in the beach and sunny disposition kind of living. My family, friends, my dog and some fruit would be my ideal life, but that being said, I don’t do well sitting still – I actually get anxious lol.
The gift of a new day and the idea of expanding my limits is what makes me tick?
Q: What is the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I am a flaming Christian, I am a business scholar and I have the sense of humour of a 3 year old.
I am highly spiritual and watching an animal merely existing could bring me to tears.
Q: Are there any challenges that you face as a B-girl in South Africa? How do you deal with this?
Plenty! Besides the usual Breaking struggle of limited job opportunities, you’re now trying to exist in a male dominated space with very little community support or the physical strength to carry out the actual dance style.
People still ask, do girls do this dance??
I deal with it by being as dope as I can be and ensuring my skill set is vast enough to have a sustainable career.
Q: What are you currently working on and is there anything exciting you would like the public to know about upcoming projects?
I’m currently a resident judge on SABC 1’s reality Hip Hop dance show called Break Da Beat, I’m heading to Europe in August to compete at The Notorious IBE, as well as teach workshops and DJ at events. I am also on a DOVE campaign and sponsored by Skullcandy, Neff and Bounce to name a few.
Q: Any words of wisdom for aspiring movers and shakers out there?
Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not possible.
Keep up with Courtnae’
Check out Courtnae’ live on Expresso: