With a full time corporate job, Zuki is an aerial artist and teacher and uses hoops and pole dancing to explore her talent.
Born and raised in Johannesburg, Zuki started her journey in 2014 after attending a friend’s birthday party. “It was hosted at a strip club and my then, highly conservative boyfriend was unimpressed and commented that I may as well become a stripper. Partly to spite him, I started going to pole dancing classes and eight years later, I’m a teacher,” she explains laughing.
She explains that she went to the classes as a form of healing and to explore more of herself.
Zuki does various styles of dancing, from sensual, artistic to pole sport. She has also been featured on various TV shows and music videos with the likes of Moonchild Sanelly, Khanyi Mbau’s Young, Rich & Famous on Netflix, and The Blackdoor.
The sensual, or “exotic” style of pole dance helps one tap into their sexy side, it’s cheeky and alluring. With this style, you’re invited to explore your sexy self.
Pole sport also known as acrobatic is a lot more competitive as it is very technical and challenging. It requires one to display competence, strength, creativity and flexibility. “Acrobatic pole on the other hand makes one aware of their weaknesses but it’s fair because you can see the goal post, you either get it or don’t reach it, but at least you have something to work towards.”
“Pole art, is the more expressive mixed discipline pole. The fun one. Pole athletes will incorporate salsa, roller blades , props into this style of dance to get a message across. This is my favorite category to compete in because you can change up your routine even on the day of a competition to match your feelings and message.”
Last year, Zuki represented South Africa in Virtual Worlds with the South African Pole Sports Federation, competing against various athletes internationally in lyra. Zuki is competitive by nature, she tries to participate in one competition every year.
On being a teacher to new and advanced pole dancing students she says: “One of my instructors took a chance on me and I enjoy it now. It gets better every time. I invest more into techniques and making sure that people come out stronger. I teach sensual and mixed level pole dancing, as well as Lyra intermediate to advanced. I love working with all levels because I get to learn from my students as well.
During weekdays, following her workday Zuki’s routine includes a minimum of three hours of training and teaching; while on weekends, she is either teaching private lessons or doing lesson presentations for the week ahead.
Zuki leads a full wholesome life, has a loving family, a supportive partner, a job she enjoys and a bunch of fun girlfriends. She is also one of those people who are always studying, currently pursuing another post-graduate qualification.
Zuki says the only way your body can respond to the training is getting enough rest and eating. Rest is optimal for strength and a better performance.
“I enjoy training. It’s an outlet, it makes me happy. There are more benefits which include a great looking body and because I love a challenge, it brings some form of fulfilment.”
On the issue of de-stigmatising pole dancing and representation, Zuki believes that there are more black women who do pole dancing but they don’t put themselves out there especially on social media. This is due to the stigma surrounding pole dancing in black communities especially, this contributes to the perception that only white people pole dance.
Interact with Zuki on social media @kis_with_1_s and book her classes at The Poling Station in Randburg.