Meet dance professional Elsie Mufuka, from Gardens Corner, South Carolina! She is the creative director and owner of MufukaWorks Dance Company, an Afro Russe Dance Company that uses dance as a way of telling stories.
Elsie attended Coker College where she studied dance. After college she received several opportunities to travel, dance, lead, and teach. One of Elsie’s opportunities and adventures lead her to Johannesburg, South Africa where she danced and took on leadership roles. Traveling to South Africa fueled her inspiration; her family’s lineage goes back to Zimbabwe; so not not only did she get the chance to take on her dream but she received the chance to learn more about the African culture. After returning home in 2010 from South Africa, Elsie developed her company! Today she continues to fulfill her desire by teaching and leading over 3,000 students through dance and creativity in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Elsie provides educational programs with workshops and performances in several locations. For an example she is a dance teacher for Union County Public Schools in North Carolina and a Teaching Artist at Charlotte Ballet. MufukaWorks Dance Company is the umbrella for several dance educational programs: MufukaWorks Dance Education, MufukaWorks Dance Elite Root Dance Professional (First Company) and MufukaWorks Square Root Dance Youth Company (Second Company).
I got the chance to talk with Elsie for 15 minutes and she shared a few things with me about her career path. She is truly following her passion and staying Bossed UP!
Qualatrice: Why do you dance?
Elsie: Dancing fulfills my life. I have been dancing since I was three years old. When I was younger, I always thought I was different because I went to a predominately white school. There are so many things I have gone through in life, rape being one of them. Dance helps me to express my deepest emotions and tell not only my story but stories of others as well.
Qualatrice: What is your purpose and how do you balance dance, family and running a business?
Elsie: My purpose is to live the life God has for me. I’m really busy, but I always go back to my purpose. One thing that helps me stay on top of things is my ability to really communicate, I am big on communication! One other thing that keeps me balanced is my tranquility! I wake up at 5 am everyday and during this time, I reflect, meditate, and/or read the bible. I also keep schedules everywhere: in my phone, white boards, sticky notes, etc.
Qualatrice: Who would you say inspired or motivated you to follow your passion?
Elsie: My parents motivated me a lot! When I was 6 years old my dad asked me about my passion and purpose. During the conversation, he reminded me that what ever I do it had to be something that allowed me to wake up everyday and enjoy doing it. My dad really pushed me and inspired me to start my own business. One other thing that really pushed me is the stories of other black women.
Qualatrice: How often do you travel for dance when it comes to personal dance and business?
Elsie: I travel a lot when it comes to dance on both ends of business and personal gain. I have traveled to Broadway, Dominican Republic, Charlotte North Carolina, Coker College and several other colleges/universities and states. However, Zimbabwe was my favorite destination because it is where my roots come from. It was a different experience and the dancing was so authentic.
Qualatrice; What’s your favorite type of Dance?
Elsie: My favorite type of dance is my very own Afro Russe Dance style. It’s a mixture of Zimbabwean African dance, ballet and contemporary put together.
Qualatrice: What advice would you give someone who is trying to start his or her own business?
Elsie: Keep pushing because when you stop you won’t see your blessing that may be right around the corner waiting for you. I never stop pushing because I continue to work as hard as I did when I first started my business.
Qualatrice; Is there anything you would change about your past?
Elsie: I wouldn’t change anything because everything is part of a JOURNEY! Everything in my life is a blessing and I realized this and who I am along the journey.
Qualatrice: What is your strength?
Elsie: My strength is knowing I am always a teacher first. At the end of the day, I really enjoy what I do. Teaching is a gift! My family is also my strength! My daughter is the reflection of me and my little family, They are the love of my life a long with my stepson.
Elsie’s dance resume is long and exquisite! She doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon because she is truly enjoying her journey!
If you would like to connect or even experience dance with Elsie you can visit her Facebook Page MufukaWorks Dance Co.
You can also visit her company’s webpage MufukaWorks Dance Co.