In Conversation with: Sean Mambwere

Sean Mambwere - Choreographer

Meet Sean Mambwere – a 5-time National Arts Merit Awards (NAMAs) winner am a Choreographer, Hip Hop and Afro Pop Dancer, Instructor, and Creative Director. He is also, “Owner of one of the biggest dance studios in Zimbabwe called MnM Dance Factory. I am a Christian, a husband of one beautiful wife, Lynsey Lynn.

I have been in the dance industry for over 15 years, toured several countries including China, Germany, and South Africa. Performed in 2 of the top Theatres in the world, The Beijing National Grand Theatre, and The Arts Cape Theatre Centre in Cape Town. Led a Zim-select team to China for a year, working for a top entertainment company called Ji Lin Entertainment. Won the National Hip Hop Dance Title 4 times with ROLX Dance Crew. 

I hold a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Applied Mathematics from the National University of Science and Technology here in Zimbabwe. Not forgetting, I love bacon, I`m always smiling and happy and joyful and full of energy.”

Sean has loved dance from an early age, “I`ve always had an affinity for music and rhythm ever since I was a kid. I used to dance and sing with my older brother a lot. Before dancing, my first love was soccer and my high school soccer dreams got shattered when I failed to go to the soccer academy I had been selected for. For reasons beyond my control, my love for dance became more dominant.” If Sean wasn’t a dancer he would be living his dream as a footballer, “I`d be playing soccer for FC Barcelona alongside Lionel Messi, who to me is The GOAT.”

The award-winning dancer is self-taught, “I wish I had gone to dance school. I`m self-trained in Hip Hop and Afro Pop and my favourite – is Hip Hop all day every day. It`s because Hip Hop, as an art form and as a culture, is what greatly influenced and shaped me growing up. Not just any Hip Hop, Christian Hip Hop.”

When working on a dance routine, Sean feels the most important thing is, “Unless it`s an instrumental, lyrical content has always been my litmus test. I need to resonate with the message in the music or I need to see the importance of that message in the totality of humanity flourishing, moving forward, making the world a better place to live in. Whether that is through celebrating being on the mountain top or helping people get through the valleys. Once that vantage point is clear for me, it becomes super easy to work on a new dance routine.”

Sean Mambwere - award winning dancer
Sean Mambwere

His dance influence isThere is one guy whose style is unique and different from anything I`ve ever seen. For me the influence has not been in trying to dance like him. Because I can`t even if I tried to, but it has been seeing him take his time through the years to understand his body. His unique movement, his creativity, and his unique style. He inspires me to take my time on my creative quest to discover my own unique style. I had the honour and privilege of meeting him and spending a couple of days with him and talking about all things creative. This guy is Tony Tran, he is my biggest dance influence.”

The choreographer’s career highlights, “They are too many to list and I am truly grateful for the recognition over the years. It`s the Dad who tells me I helped their son discover their gift and passion. The Mom who tells me I helped their daughter get through a difficult season just by the way I treated her every time she came for my dance class.

The policy changes that I had a hand in behind the scenes, to help creatives be better placed to succeed. Those are the highlights of my career. The priceless ones, the unquantifiable. I believe that the ultimate joy and highlight for every creative should be found in the impact they see in others and not themselves and how they are leaving a legacy.”

Here is what Sean does to keep himself ahead of the competition:

“I do a few of things, I always stay knee-dependent on God for my creativity. Making sure that my validation does not come from man or let it become more important than my identity in Christ. I always get people asking me how I feel now that I`ve made it, and my response always shocks them because I say I didn’t make it in life now that I have achieved all this, I made it in life the day I gave my life to Christ. So, all this is an overflow.

I don’t stay attached to my past successes, because that makes one fearful to move from those successes and fail forward. More so, I don’t prioritise Creative Perfection above Creative Exploration in the pursuit of the fruition of my ultimate vision and mission. The goal is to keep my eyes on the prize, running in my lane joyfully and faithfully.

I don’t allow social media to dictate, influence and determine what I do to stay relevant. Furthermore, I surround myself with trusted friends who challenge me to keep pushing my envelope of creativity every day. I remind myself to stay humble because I know humility never loses. No one can beat me if I`m not doing anything to compare myself with them in the first place.

Lastly, I allow my creative process to evolve, the very thing that makes any art form beautiful and worthwhile. I have my own unique creative pillars I carry from year to year that keep me grounded, but the nuances around those pillars are the ones that evolve.”

Sean Mambwere - creative director
Sean Mambwere

Sean has worked with so many big artists, he remarks, “The ones that have been the best to work with have been the ones that are not adequately celebrated by our industry. They are producing some of the best music I have ever heard. I`ll just mention one – Mwenje Mathole.

The seasoned dancer cites, “I would love to work with any artist from Reach Records. I`ve already toured with some of them during their Unashamed Africa Tour to Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe (Lecrae, KB, Sho Baraka, Trip Lee, Tedashii, Andy Mineo). I would love to choreograph some of their music when they shoot their new music videos.”

The most played songs in his playlist:

  • Baba naMai – Mwenje Mathole
  • 10 Toes – Lecrae
  • Help Is on The Way – Toby Mac
  • Go Like – Da` T.R.U.T.H. and Limoblaze
  • Eat – Tobe Nwigwe

The rocks in Sean’s life, “God sits on my life throne and is the Chief Rock. The extension of God`s grace in my life ranges from My Local Church – Kingdom People Church and It`s Leadership Team – Rob Hollands, Taps Masanganise, Simba Chinyowa. My D.O.Gs (Dead Old Guys) – C.S Lewis, C.H. Spurgeon, J. Edwards, J.I. Packer – their literature has shaped me big time. My LLs (Living Legends) – John Piper and Mark Driscoll. My wife – Lynsey Lynn, my family and my siblings (Mom, Dad, Chenai, Ngoni, Joyce and John) and my best friends – Takunda Chineka, Simbabrashe Nhapi, Romeo Chandiposha, Tafadzwa Croft Furusa.  Many others I could list here, but these are the ones that come to mind right now.

Sean wants to be remembered, “As one who shouted the loudest in making much of Christ within his life, to the glory of God – my joy.

You can type Sean Mambwere on any social media platform (except Tik Tok) to connect with him. Don’t forget to like and share the interview.

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