In Summary

  • In October 2013, she resigned from her job and undertook a month’s dance training in Berlin. She beefed it up with two weeks in Paris in September of 2014 and two weeks in Croatia in July 2015. 
  • The decision to resign from her job was “risky. I was worried about leaving the (financial) security but my will power was stronger,” she says. “I preferred giving my all to developing my gifts than to live with regret and wonder ‘what if’ later.”
  • But she didn’t just dive into uncertainty without preparation.

The Dance Factory Kenya is becoming a common part of Nairobi’s entertainment scene. When I first meet her, Marion Munga, she is hosting a salsa night at the swanky Caramel Restaurant & Lounge at ABC Place. Another weekend, I run into her at Galleria Mall’s main atrium – the establishment has hired her to add a swing to the weekend shoppers’ experience, which she and her team do by fluidly gliding to stirring Hispanic beats, coaxing customers to join them and learn a basic move or two.

It wasn’t always like this. Growing up, Marion wanted to become a pharmacist so that she could ‘make medicine sweeter’. Her favorite subject was mathematics. She graduated magna cum laude with a degree in international business administration from The United States International University before kicking off an internship at a bank. In 2012 she got her first job in a corporate training company. She looked set for the corporate world… but something was missing. “Even though I was focused on doing the best I could at work,” she points out, “my heart was in the arts.”

Marion had joined dance clubs in high school and university. In employment, she continued to dance after work, and also trained others. “I liked working at the training firm because I was helping people be better and I enjoy connecting with people,” she says, “but I was not fulfilled. When I would teach dance after work I would light up!”

She remembers the day it occurred to her that she could pursue dance as a full time career; “In 2013, we (a performance group she had joined) signed up for the Berlin Stargate Competition,” she says. “It was my first time performing internationally. We represented Kenya and Africa and won first place. I was in my element, surrounded by people who appreciated the art of dance. It was then that I realised that people actually dance on a fulltime basis as a profession.”

WILL TO SUCCEED

In October 2013, she resigned from her job and undertook a month’s dance training in Berlin. She beefed it up with two weeks in Paris in September of 2014 and two weeks in Croatia in July 2015. 

The decision to resign from her job was “risky. I was worried about leaving the (financial) security but my will power was stronger,” she says. “I preferred giving my all to developing my gifts than to live with regret and wonder ‘what if’ later.”

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