Yet, she is as affable and friendly as the girl next door. No airs and graces and just an all round nice person. One would think that with all she has achieved, for such a young person, that there might be just the slightest touch of ego, I am happy to say, none at all. She is, however, a true professional with a deep love for her craft but with an amazing spirit and personality who wears her success well.
An accomplished dancer, choreographer, DJ and MC, it wouldn’t surprise us to see her mic in hand for a totally different reason, perhaps as a singer? Who knows….
Courtnae’ has always been an active child. At the age of seven she had already achieved her South African colours in gymnastics, and then went on to explore kickboxing for about 4 years. But it was when she first joined her local Fellowship Church that her passion for dance took root.
It was a chance meeting with Levell Eaton a local guy who attended the same church, who invited her to audition as a dancer for Verde, who at the time was an aspiring R and B singer in Durban. She did and was selected as part of Verde’s dance troupe.
However, it wasn’t too long before she auditioned for Dance With Me, a local Bollywood production with Shivani Kara as the choreographer. Of course, she landed the role and was given the opportunity to choreograph a few dances on the show. Courtnae’ was just fifteen at the time.
This in turn led to more work with the same team and by the time East Meets West came along Courtnae’ landed herself a joint lead, together with Kajal Maharaj, in the production where India, Africa and Europe are blended together through fashion and dance.
The young dancer at this time was still at school and would attend school during the day and rehearsals in the evening with shows on the weekend. However, she sailed through matric in 2009 and is currently in her final year of B.Com Business Management degree, in between her now crazily manic schedule.
There have been times when her decision making skill was put to the test like the time she was offered the chance to dance for the SAMA’s or write Accounting….of course she chose the SAMA’s but none of it has deterred her from completing her education. It’s taking a little longer than she would like but this year will see the young talent graduating with her B.Comm degree.
During 2013/14 while she was still in the Toya Delayzi dance troupe they did a corporate function where Courtnae was to be the ‘secret reveal’ and had to play at being a DJ for the beginning of the dance sequence…needless, to say this marked her entry into a new area of entertainment, DJ’ing. And it wasn’t long after the event that she landed her first DJ gig. She is now one of the most sought after female DJ’s in the industry.
With dancing, DJ’ing and choreographing keeping her busy Courtnae still has time to give back to the community, she conducts nationwide dance workshops for young people interested in the art form.
Courtnae is loving her journey at this point and with sponsors such as Skull Candy, NEF and Red Bull and having choreographed huge projects such as the SAMA’s and MTV events and with huge opportunites in both tv and radio on the horizon, “ the sky is the limit”…not bad for a young girl from a small previously Coloured community in Red Hill.
All we can say is – Look out world, here comes Courtnae, though she says her passion is right here in Africa. Although the big Apple may be calling Courtnae believes that as an African, the continent is where it’s at and where she needs to conquer first before setting off to parts unknown. We have no doubt though, that this is just the beginning of the Courtnae story, the best is yet to come.
“It takes ten years to become an overnight sensation.” Courtnae Paul
GET TO KNOW COURTNAE
Describe your dance style – Breakdance and everything Hip Hop.
Your favourite music genre – Eclectic, from jazz to rnb to Hip ho. I grew up in a home where music was part of our daily existence so I developed an appreciation for all kinds of music.
Current project: Choreography – The current VW launch of the new GTI…done with LED suits. Its exciting as I’m not only choreographing people but cars and lights as well. Super challenging!
Are you a gym bunny – No gym, but lots of dancing and keep up with a little gymnastics in a gym but that’s as far as it goes.
Favourite Meal – Nothing, no specific diet and eats about anything – just keep it healthy.
Favourite Artist: Michael Jackson
Music Gendre: mostly hip hop
Dream choreography job: Missy Elliot
Describe your personal style in one word: Just chilled
Music on your ipod: The new Kendrick Lamaralbum
Biggest Challenge so far: The adjustment of moving from Durban to Johannesburg
Advice to young entertainers/dancers – It’s important to know that you don’t need the greatest start you just need passion for the craft, commitment to keep learning and dedication even when you think things are not working out the way you would like.