#FavouriteFinds: Oti Mabuse – #BlackGirlMagic In The Ballroom

Anyone who knows me knows I am o b s e s s e d with dancing and dance shows. I was a ballerina in a past life, and y’all can’t tell me different. Anyway… I’ve watched any and every dance show that’s ever been on a screen in my lifetime, and will continue to do so as long as I live.

My Find for today, and one of my WCEs, is the petite lioness from Pretoria, South Africa, Otlile “Oti’ Mabuse. She is 5’4” of ballroom badassery, and she shines like a glitterball on the dance floors of both Strictly Come Dancing in the UK, and Let’s Dance in Germany.

Body goals, tbh. And she’s so cute!

Oti’s not a ‘new’ discovery, so this is totally a cheat post (it’s my blog, I can do what I want 😜). I actually have two other Latin/ballroom dancers to thank for the initial “introduction” about three years ago: Janette Manrara, also a Strictly queen and the reason I started watching the show in the first place, and Keo Motsepe, my Dancing with the Stars bae, and who just happens to be Oti’s former dance partner back in South Africa (they won eight national titles on the trot!) Janette had tweeted a pic of her and Keo together from their days in the travelling ballroom show Burn the Floor. Now, I’m not clueless, so I knew that black Latin/ballroom dancers exist, but if you’re using popular TV dance shows like DWTS, Strictly and even So You Think You Can Dance as a gauge, you probably have only seen one in action (a kids competition on DWTS several years ago featured then 13-year-old Brandon Armstrong from Utah.) So I was hella excited to see Keo and prayed he’d make it to DWTS or Strictly. I did some digging around and found this video:

After watching it, my first thought was, “DAYUM!!!!” and then I went on the hunt for more videos. Which is how I found this gem:

And just like that, a new girl crush was born. I mean, I almost forgot about Keo for a second because Oti came through like a ball of pink fyah. JUST LOOK. AT. HER! I dug around some more, found her name and a few more videos of her setting dancefloors on fire with her hubby Marius Iepure, competing for Germany. When it was announced that she would be joining the Strictly family in 2015, I felt like all of my dance dreams had come true.

She didn’t make it far in her first season, but last year, she came back on a mission. This time around, she was paired with the gorgeous and almost-too-perfect-to-be-real actor Danny Mac, and Team Doti proved to be contenders from the get go. Unfortunately, they didn’t lift the Glitterball trophy (BOOO!!), but they’re the real winners in the eyes of many, and that’s been proven by them dominating the recently concluded Strictly Live Tour. Team Doti is the stuff that dance show dreams are made of. Just look at this Samba, the first to score a perfect 40 points in Strictly history!

It makes me so happy to see a talented, fierce and gorgeous (her legggsssss!) black goddess of a woman from Mama Africa kicking butt and taking names in such a typically white arena. Little black girls all across the UK and even back in her native South Africa needed to see her smashing glass ceilings, to know that they can do it too. And this dance-obsessed fan in Jamaica desperately needed the diversity that she and Keo have brought to the dance floors of her favourite shows.

It’s certainly premature to talk about the next season of Strictly so early in the year, but I’m already sorry for whoever Oti’s next partner is gonna be. How do you top perfection? Lucky for him, my girl comes up with THEE BEST ideas and choreography the show has ever seen, hands down. So if he’s willing and has an ounce of ability, and is not afraid of a few risks, she can whip him into fighting shape. And she takes no mess, so he’d better come prepared!

The curtains came down on Team Doti and the rest of the Class of 2016 on Sunday, and I’m still a little emo, because how am I supposed to say goodbye to my forever faves? Thank God for Youtube, and the community of commentors who feel just as bereft as I do. (Seriously, I was on there freaking out or bawling so much that people on other social media platforms recognised my DP. It’s that serious.) If you’ve got a spare 27 minutes and 24 seconds, you can watch all of Team Doti’s dances here.


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