« Desert Island Discs

Oti Mabuse, dancer

2022-04-02 | 🔗
Oti Mabuse is a dancer, choreographer and TV talent show judge. She has enjoyed great success on the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing and is one of only two professional dancers to win the glitterball trophy twice. Oti was born in South Africa in 1990, the year that Nelson Mandela was released from prison, and dance was a central part of her life from a very early age: her mother had set up a dance school so that black children could learn ballroom and Latin dancing. Oti followed in the footsteps of her two older sisters, winning dance competitions in South Africa and taking part in international events. She competed in Blackpool when she was just 11 years old, and retains strong memories of the elegant Tower Ballroom and the poor weather. Oti's father trained as a lawyer and her mother worked in education, and they felt that their youngest daughter needed the security of a professional qualification, so Oti studied civil engineering at university. Shortly before qualifying, she decided to abandon her degree and become a professional ballroom dancer, joining her sister Motsi in Germany. She first appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2015 and has recently announced her departure from the show. She lives in London with her husband, the dancer Marius Lepure. DISC ONE: Lose My Breath by Beyoncé (with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams) DISC TWO: My Afrikan Dream by Vicky Sampson DISC THREE: A Song for Mama by Boyz II Men DISC FOUR: Dance With My Father by Luther Vandross DISC FIVE: Un-break my Heart by Toni Braxton DISC SIX: I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman by Britney Spears DISC SEVEN: It’s My Life by Bon Jovi DISC EIGHT: Survivor by Destiny’s Child BOOK CHOICE: Will by Will Smith LUXURY ITEM: A photo of Oti and her Grandma CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: It’s My Life by Bon Jovi Presenter Lauren Laverne Producer Sarah Taylor
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Bbc sounds music radio podcasts I'm Lauren Laverne and this is the desert island discs. Podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island and for rights reasons the music is shorter than the original broadcast. I hope you enjoy listening. I my castaway week is the dancer and television presenter automobile see her adventure. on the dance floor have captivated millions she's. The only professional in the twenty year hissed strictly come dancing to lift the delectable two years on the trot. She
also the winning mental on both series. Recent BBC ones greatest answer one: the south Latin american championships eight times and recently made her debut as a judge on I tvs sunday night spectacular, dancing on ice, the story behind the sequence, is less well known. However, she was born, pretoria in ninety ninety and grew up doing nelson Mandela's presidency following it who elder sisters into dance. She made her first appearance at an international competition blackpool when she was just eleven. The first trophy she won, made of a cold, a bottle and her mother, a primary school teacher, worked extra job and even learn to serve to support have passion. However, she drew them and allowing her youngest daughter to embark on a career as a dancer without a backup plan which explains the civil engineering degree she studied for, though, perhaps skills will come into their own when she's, locking up a shelter and her desert island. She says I genuinely think people don't know that own potential until some
comes and demands it of you sing. I see more, I believe in you owe him a pc. Welcome, to desert island is thinking for. However, may I once heard you described, dance has to he's creating one movement I love and that partnership between T done says is so important is an at one of the most important qualities for duns partner to have for you for me, I think its first, the chemistry there has to be something that is idle explainable. That is untouchable, that the to have that chemistry with its friendship, whether it's love, whether its passion it spock's so much because the goals and the intense students are aligned and from there on, we can do whatever we want and its lovely to watch those partnerships. Those friendships develop if you one strictly in twenty nineteen, with the Acta calvin Fletcher and then in twenty twenty, your partner was the comedian. bill. Bailey nord advice
glance necessarily an obvious downs champions much as we all adore him. Of course. Did you think that the pair of you would be winners when you took your first steps unto the dance floor with bell. Absolutely not remember. Just haven't deep conversations. I, like the whole point of steel and what we love so much about strictly, is ed strictly at one place where everything is possible, we had the lovely rose, come on. Eileen this year added She one you know, that's the first person on strictly with a disability to actually went for so many years. You would have thought that was impossible. strictly it is bell, was the oldest Let us forget and, as he said at Fettes glance, he wouldn't think it's possible and then he does it. It's the magic austin Ok, I think we should dive straight into your music choices today, disk number one worthy chosen and why is lose my breath by be say from the homecoming
and I love the song just before I go on every time I get. riddled with knives and the song pumps me out. You know, say stand into the wonder woman pose this song. Is that for me I'm not gonna stand in the middle of the strictly? Does phone stand alone no woman, I'm not I'm data, but that's days before I go on or first thing in the morning I put the song on and ass the words there that really get be pumped up and an excited and like I can do
I did I lose my breath by beyond with kelly, roland and Michel Williams automobile? see being one of the professional dances on strictly puts you in the spotlight in more ways than one researching for our interview today. There is so much press coverage about you and so much of a speculative. How do you feel at your celebrity status. I know that people are watching all the time, one
that made me realize. That was when I was picking up my dogs poop in the park and next day. It was in the house really fun, as they would have been worse if you ve been in for not taking in manila, but it was seven in the morning. It was probably the only thing that I I have in my life way. You know. Sometimes you just need to send to yourself. You just go walking my dog and I and dogs do a dogs do. And yes, I pick up off to my dog. And you just don't, expect little things like that to be seen, and then people commenting o t fool people who decide themselves as having two left feet. Do you think anyone can develop the ability to dance anyone? Everyone- and I think, that's. Why shows like dancing on ice and strictly are so popular is because this is element of wanting to be, whisked away in the walls on a foxtrot or skating,
This girl, I dig on the eyes and and feeling you're uncloud line. Anyone can do it. You just have to really just be brave enough to look up and down school and take the first step. Everybody's going to look like fred, astaire Djinn Kelly in a week and strictly kind of makes it look like it. It does because we do it in seven days by what people don't see is that it is all day every day, it's time to disk number two
we'll see. What have you chosen disc number. Two is my african dream by vicky sampson. The song makes me so emotional and it always reminded me of the journey that south africa went through. The history is still going through and how that relates in my life and how strong people needed to be in order to be free, and it makes me so proud to be south african. It makes me proud to to know that I get to bring a bit of my colleague show my country to england and hopefully representing south africans in the best way possible.
Vicky samson and my african dream so seem a pc. Let's go to the beginning. Men shall way your foreign and mob upon a pretoria, south africa, nineteen nineteen, the year that nelson mandela was released from prison, and you grew up in a very different south africa from the one that your parents grew a pen tell me a little bit about them. As, let's start with your mom, do she's a teacher specific. Yes, a force of nature, my mom and a growing up is she.
An easy. She was in the nineteen seventy six riots when the youth of south africa stormed and they refuse to learn and afrikaans anymore, and they wanted to retorted it in english and in a language that they understood and there were standing up against the government, but it made her so strong and fight for us. When we grew up, she was very stick and we were not allowed to do anything. The only thing we did was go to school, who do spas weekends, who didn't even have weekends off. We were dancing and she just didn't want us to grow up and feel like. We didn't have opportunities and she wanted to make sure that we will always busy so that we will have in the streets mute when getting up
to any mischief. Sudan's was a way to keep you busy, but but it had also been a passion that that she'd loved something she'd always wanted to proceed, but not been able to the opportunities were there for them. There were no down schools, there were no dance teachers, it was very segregated as well and she always loved it. She always wanted to do it. She always wanted to wear those big balls, dresses and have her hair done, but also in those years, but poor boy to love to new and allowed to even be in the same room or the same downs floor as white paper and one day she was old and she was working as a budgetary and she had borne music playing and she saw downs, competition and she was like this is such a shame I couldn't do it, but a minute see if one of my daughter's woke and she then took more see and what, if
EL immediately in love with dancing and what's his mildest system. Second system wasn't so bothered by So this is where the main l a piano PAMELA, because obviously there is still a lot of segregation. This is before last mandela was released from jail because that's it ten year. Gap is now between the three of you guessing, so you considerably younger terrorism born. Yet when they started to turn things, and there were no one teach him like kids, how to dance where we lived, and so my mom is like right, the pre school, where I work I'm going to turn that into a down school. I'm gonna get my daughters to practice their and because she, the committed to where we grew up marble Biden, it wasn't really the safest. There were a lot of taxi riots, it was really dangerous and she also wanted something for the kids in the neighborhood also to have where they are be safe, where they would be learning where they can feel free and b, kids, arts and cultures her fang.
she lived in the uk should probably would have been a western style her. So then she took all the kids in the neighborhood and should put them into dancing. She then realize that after hassles is really late, you called war com. So then she started our own transport company, which would take all the kids from their schools wherever they went to school Who pick them up? Take them straight to the dance school where they would all learn and b that do their homework. Then they practice them from their take them straight home. So parents never really needed to worry as well to them. They had childcare wildfire and she did this four years. So it was I saw it was all I saw and eyes like. I can do this o t, no one with a start like that, but you ve continued in and fell so hard in love with dunce. I think we should have some will music, though, what's your fed choice today, a sum
for my mom by boys to men, their sovereignty in amazement, my mom and how amazing she is, how determined she is and really how lucky I am to have her as my mom. She was fought for us and she taught us to fight for ourselves and not take no for an answer and and be it as ambitious and dedicated and competitive as we are she said you have to be otherwise- is no other way to survive alive.
I was going to get an emotional listen to that song for mama boys to man. While your mum sounds incredible, I think we should hear about your father to cancer. Yes, so he and as a lawyer and retired, as a judge yeah, so my competitiveness definitely comes from my dad side we have described. zero even like no one is like the fact that I can does from ten to ten. That's because that's the man I grew up watching my dad was working so hard being that we grew up in south africa. They ain't see used to have missions where they would send some students overseas to come and study in oxford law so that they can actually fight the regime through law through education and some of them couldn't come up.
sees that enough. The papers they were sent to universities within south africa to learn law and my dad was one of them. But I remember my grandma tellin me the story and that they also couldn't afford the university way while like the school was paid, but the life in a university life food and lodging like an associate and my grandma. She opened a tavern. She says her alcohol so that she can make money to send my dad to school wow. I know right, like my whole family is full of women who just two things, and he then set up a law firm for himself in an area called Hamas grout. Where p, oh couldn't afford to pay for laws. So if you were wrongly arrested and again in those times, alot of black people being
arrested and didn't have any representation? You would then go to my dad and he was able to help and sometimes not even like for free, really helping people in those communities and given them a chance due to fight back. Let's have some music otiose. Fourth choice: today: what have we got on? Why dance was my father by the vendors was my wedding song with my dad. It is actually the first time I danced with my dad to be honest, and it reminds me of the good times and all the values he instead, still in us today, No, No,
we saw. How my father. Hmm? loose of andrews and dance with my father automobile say I want to take you back to us who will days you had this life outside as a little dancer. How much did your classmates know about it? We used to a school uniform and once every month on a friday, we used to pay to west series, editor cv state, and that was my opportunity to wear dance dresses to school. I was like nah, I'm not going to wear jeans a special little girl. I wore a white ballroom dress, with my sparkly silvery latin shoes, I did my hair up. I looked like grim absolute pride says
and I came in allows like yes, guys, I'm a professional dancer. This is like in your one, so, how old were you pay a lot but have been six six yap sakes and teachers like oh wow, who is from an unlucky, I'm a dancer and they would, I really am, I think they they didn't take me seriously. I certainly don't think they did and there were like. Oh ok, will you do dance for us like yes, push the table back every vote. First then tales and I'd does in front of the car. Yes, and I was like in the end they wanna all. While you really offer a good dancer ass, he could most successful easter travelling abroad to compete, and you were eleven when you went to first international competition in blackpool. It
big deal in the dancing world. What did you make of it all when you got here? It's a big big big deal while leaving the country is a big deal and being able to compete overseas is a is a big deal and it is one of the highlights competitions that you kind of want to do every year It is its massive ye have dances from all over planning their life's around this one competition and from all ages wow- and I remember getting here so when data was so great and those beach, and at that point I think that it was like the prominent is called the prominent right at the lights were on, but it was getting dog. It was so I was like dog at three sides and often- and I was like oh my gosh- the days are so short welcome to the no yeah yeah. But you you spend most of the time in this ball room, this beautiful, beautiful ball room was a shiny,
browse floor made out of wood and the ceiling head paintings and arts and the balcony head sculptures and it had looked like nothing I'd ever seen in my life, and it was the best best feeling because we were overseas, No one spoke the same language by the way like military. No one spoke the same language but somehow who are playing after we danced. We were in europe and then after you does it not really sad. If you don't win really because you're going to go, get a pick and mix afterwards, he can be so sad taking on the cards. Let's face it yeah. I remember asking my mom for money because I wanted to go on the rides cause. That was fun as well as kids, and I remember her being like I'm saving money so that we can have food later on. We serve like half
well garden and save it and have half a burger later and then she would save money for us to be able to go and beyond located and play with the other kids as well ot we're going to get the music. It's your fifth choice to day what have you gone full online, I've gotten for tony. stem and break my heart. I think this was the first some. I realized. Ok, there's this thing called love and I'm going up I also love toni braxton. So much
my god tony braxton and on break my heart, you sing, and, along with every word, you look lost in thought. We were youth, I was I was totally, that move living the draw my best life than I can so but they say when we watch you on strictly and obviously in our conversation today, your tenacity or appetite for hard work really comes across what time
if student, where you were he was dedicated in the classroom. As you are on the dance floor, I was really good at school, but I also love I had. I had like a little rebel side to me where I would do things that made no sense, but in my head they did so. I didn't apply to go to university at all. Actually, like that's, not what I wanna do. I want adults and my mom and sister were like Pimento. My mom would were like. No, you need to go to school because if that's done, something doesn't work out. You need to have a backup, so she took my school report without telling me she applied for university without telling me and then payment. I was like there you go. You got an acceptance letter from the invasive technology, you're going to study photography and I was like doing but then my mom was like, if you don't literally, how are you going to make a living you're not going to be living under my roof, often sounds like okay. Fine then I actually fell in love with
engineering and the math and science side of it and the idea of building something from scratch and problem solving and going to a field where it's just tree and sad and then building a community, their building houses for people who cannot afford a living so that's what you were studying, there's a kind of the equivalent of building cancelled as soon as you cannot dancing and they all supported by solar panel in energy. It wasn't home before you qualified you, a close do it, but he did put down your trials because his steel toe cap boots and put on your dancing shoes again deciding to pursue your career full time. What did your parents say? They were like against it. Absolutely against it. They were like this is the worst decision ever I really really wasn't happy because being engineer full time, men that I could and dance. It really didn't feel like that.
Something that I was ready to give up at that point to retire at twenty from dancing after I'd been dancing every single day since the age of four. All of a sudden I give it up and it just doesn't sit right with my soul, and it didn't sit right with my heart and my mum kept saying quit quit if you're not happy find another job one day actually did as guys. I'm quitting among ok, we'll find another job, and I No, I can't do this kind of my life unhappy only twenty one, this can be it This can be the journey that have chosen for myself. I want more out of life and I'm not getting it right now, and so my dad was like. What's the plan and those that, while I've saved up some money, and I'm moving and I'm going to dance forever. and I went to germany. And thereby what I wanna dance and I loved
sensing and why germany in particular cousin, what's he was already living in germany, and so, if ever I was not gonna succeed, always gotta fail. Our doors, have my sister and always have somebody to take care of me time. Small music. It's your sixth choice. Today. What's he gonna, be I'm not a girl, not yet a woman by vibrate me, and I think this describes exactly how I was feeling that moment where I knew that it was time for me to move on. I'm a girl, but I'm not yet a woman and I'm still learning and the song represents exactly that. Just that transition of korea change the fear that we feel just before about to make a big leap and not knowing whether, if the biggest mistake of our lives, for it could be the best decision.
The britney spears not a girl not yet of women, so ultimately see let's find out where life took. He next, Germany were actually you met your husband Marius. You were looking for a dance partner. Tell me about your first impressions of him: oh gosh, My first impression living one great really at first, because so we had like planned a date where we would mean in this
you and obviously, when new plan not a date date, but like a day, we were gonna meet. You dress up right so the day before that was the only day where I was left alone in the house to do nothing, and so my goal was to spend the whole day pajamas with mosques and watch movies and eat ice cream and Marius decided that he would come the day before. When I looked at ferocious It's that he is like I, I actually love seeing you like this, because then this is who you really are, rather than who you were going to show me, and it was just chemistry. You know that chemistry, it's in the hand it is in how it feels he leads. Could I follow that leave and besides us getting along
well together, we danced really well together, so the whole thing was just like: did: did you just did it? It just came together very nicely. Do you still? together now, yes, we are going on tar now, actually he's gonna join me on the top strictly had its nineteen seriously. German. I don't think that was a dry in the house during that final, it was so I'm alone knowledge, especially when the actress rose ailing unless he was deaf lifted. The winners trophy with her partner giovanni each year and of course same sex couples and now rag it upon the show in a right there in the final lab Jonah John, is last year how important as the poor from being for changing people's perceptions. Do you think no show his
That is so well so classy soul, effortless, so beautifully impact for there's no show that stuff like that. It is never about being. The first sometimes are not the first to do things, but they do it right and they do a beautifully in makes it okay. I does with johnny peacock for the first time, and he was the first person the disability on strictly and johnny inspires and stolen spies. So many kids who thought that they couldn't dance, they couldn't run the same with Lauren who had an arm amputation. The way strictly does stuff is so beautiful, and so pure o t, wear recording this nellie february now the lineup isn't finalized. Yet for this year's strictly, can we look forward to seeing you going for a third win you want it to me, I can't say yet came when we look I would say there and thank you for now
see you're seventh disk to or to right. This is my favorite song of all time. It is my life by bun, jovi and fairly modest punjabi, of course, so scientists them. by this song- represents taking control and living the best life ampler that you can. And embracing all the ups and living in pushing through the doubts,
phone they and it's my life otis made me so happy that you ve done to all the way through does island discs. Today I mean just someone s full agatha literally I should enter the guitar competition because I feel like I could stand a chance to win income that thing like. Never will
dance on your island do think. No now are we looking for food our progressing at, because nobody can heavy and pretend that I'm turning braxton I'll, be It's a whole bunch of a ute in the past couple of years. You've also been a judge on dancing and skating competitions. How has it been for you swapping positions? You know going from competing to judging I love it. I've been on both sides of the take both and I know how hard people wet. I know how hard people really want you to say something nice, because it's not easy, and I always want to make sure that people know. that I value and appreciate how hard they working, whether celebrities or its dances- and I am- is she ate it, because I understand that they are doing it for us and for people at home and for themselves
have been so many changes for you in the past ten years or so you know, life has completely changed, of course, on this programme. The whole point is that we're gonna cast you away from all that life out of the spotlight. You gonna be on a car. It desert islands but you'll also be completely alone. You know nobody to talk to dance with How will you get on? Do you think? All by yourself without friends, love. It ass an audience. I would absolutely love it because I spend my time around so many people entertaining people dealing with people, my dog is well my whole family. I celebrate when the house the empty and I'm all alone, and of got just music plain the background and nothing to do. That's it. That's it or listening to a podcast. I love to be alive
I don't think I would survive reread where I'd actually love it too. Much that I might never ever come out. You can have a crack and shelter as a civil engineering degree. I could build it myself, I'm I'm also from south africa. We build stuff with our hands anyways, so I know I'll find some trees and I've found myself if it's too hot, I know how to purify seawater. I would do really, really really well, I'm not worried about you till you call over before you go there. but one more disk today, funny that you asked me about the arab, because I think I will survive at the next song is survival by destinies child, and this represents me and my sisters and
This was the son we always used to sing, obviously, because we three dozen destined shall just three and its about all the hot things that we ve been through the times when people told us that we would not survive the times. Limp people told us. We were good enough the times when people down to does and put us down and the best way to kind of retaliate or to show them is to be the best that you can be and succeed, and we, we were told a lot that there
a lot of things that we could never do and where and allowed to do, and this song says no matter how hard things on how bad things on whatever people say. I thought you might know destinies child an survivor, so automobiles I'm gonna send you away the island. Now I'm giving you the bible on the complete works. If shakespeare and you can take one other book with you, what will it be? I would take? Will smith new book is co? Well, because I love worthless
it is amazing. So just forbid of will smith time on your islands just me, and will you can a luxury item mobile happy. I would take a photo of me grandma that I'd take with me everywhere. I love my grandma, she paused when I was nineteen and she still holds a special place in my heart and I talked to her every now and then, and I believe she is my guardian angel, so it take a photo of my man, I'm finally which one track of the eight that you ve shared with us today. Would you rush to save from the waves a catchy it has to be a bun jovi, it's my life and I feel ready pumped after listening to it every single time. I years is just a great song. Voting that they see. Thank you very much for letting us here. Your desert island discs. Thank you for having Thank you so much
The he enjoyed by conversation with authority, and I hope that she's happy making a shelter on her island and looking for food. If you wanna, hear more, does and disk. There are more than two thousand programmes to choose from in our archive, which include the dam. Says, deem darcy bustle and dame nanette devour search for them through BBC sounds or a programme website. You also find one of otis dancing partners, bill, baileys, desert island discs, choices in to the studio manager for today's programme, with Sarah Hockley and the producer was saratoga next time my guest will be the musician robert plant. I do hope yields this, then here we go dance. It has
the power to connect and to entertain and in a new series for privacy, radio for and BBC sounds. I explore the iconic thousands who have been doing just that dance. really, I think, saved my life join me We do not. We say, as I dive into the lives of the innovative and the more breakers change dance for him june. Kelly was this working class guy that I just really connected with automatically says, does imagines I'm ready or for in this house.
Transcript generated on 2022-06-05.