Inside John Cole’s life ride

DREAMING big is one of the ways that has catapulted some people to levels where they went on to become symbols of excellence.
Award-winning dance choreographer John Cole is not an exception from the dreamers as he rose from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of success.

BY PRECIOUS CHIDA

The gifted dancer told NewsDay Weekender that with just a glimpse of him people have misjudged him and concluded that he came from a well-off family.

“Contrary to popular belief as most people think I grew up in the so-called leafy suburbs, I grew up in various places including Sunningdale, Mbare, Highfield, Glen View, Glen Norah and Mufakose,” he said.

Cole said his life was a roller coaster ride, especially after the death of his parents.

“Growing up I was called a sickling. I had serious skin issues like eczema and other skin problems which plagued me during my childhood. However, the saddest part about my life is I lost everyone close to me at a young age and as much as my grandmother was there I needed that parental biological embrace but I never had that and up to now there are times when it gets difficult and I wish my mother was here,” he said.

“I had to work in a textile shop at the age of 16 and this was to feed our family as my grandmother was partially blind and could not take care of us fully which in turn stopped my education process. Even if I wanted to continue with my schooling I had no money to do so.”

Cole said dancing changed his life for the better, allowing him to improve a lot in life and enabling him to reach out to others in need of help so they could also achieve their dreams.

The choreographer said his biggest achievement so far has been obtaining nine awards and being the first dancer in Zimbabwe to break the barriers of featuring in videos and headlining events.

He said most people in the arts industry are however brutal with race as they insinuate that because he is mixed race it is easy for him to get jobs abroad which is for him never the reason behind his success.

Besides dancing, Cole is also an avid sports player with a passion for cricket. He nearly became part of the Zimbabwe cricket squad but had to shelf the dream due to a long-standing injury.

Cole advised other dancers to be focused and professional.

“Dancers should know their goals and stick to them and have in mind that Rome was not built in one day. They should be professional and never give up,” he said.