It’s difficult to imagine Michael Kasaija or Natasha Sinayobye submitting to anyone. After all, these are the two who broke away from what was then Uganda’s hottest contemporary dance group, The Obsessions, at a time when everyone wanted in, back in 2005.
They went on to form Kombat Dancers.
“We have got a little boss at home,” Michael says, Natasha beside him smiling.
“We call him our little boss because once he starts demanding for attention, everything in the house stops until he gets what he wants. Sean is the centre of our lives. It is Sean who ensures that once we come home, all work related stuff stops at the gate. It can’t be any other way.”
Dating since March 2002, Michael and Natasha admit the birth of their son on June 5, 2005 altered their lives completely.
Michael remembers, “The day he was born, I freaked out! That day when I was called to the hospital, I was panicking. I was pacing up and down in the hospital. I would go back to the parking yard, open the car door and not remember what I was looking for.
“When I saw him for the first time, I could not believe this little person could make you do all these things!”
Not that Natasha, a former Miss Uganda runner-up, was ever lacking in confidence but she credits the birth of their son with changing her view of herself.
“He made me realise that I was someone very important and of a lot of value in this world just by being his mother. I can’t explain it but ever since I got Sean, I have learned that I have so much love to give to those I love and it grows everyday. It is a priceless feeling.”
Michael and Natasha both agree that the birth of their son changed the way they work together and forced them to find balances they had never considered before.
“Sundays are now totally off limits. We try to make sure that we are at home with Sean, that we do not have performances. However many ideas we might have for work, we choose to work on them later and concentrate on Sean and each other because the rest of the week, we are up and down though we might be together.”
The hectic schedule can be accounted for by the numerous engagements the couple have as one of Kampala’s leading dance groups.
Three years since it was formed, Kombat Dancers has become one of the most recognised contemporary dance groups with Michael and Natasha as the core members. Natasha proudly reels off some of their most prestigious engagements so far.
“We were selected to be part of the CHOGM welcome performers at Serena Hotel last year. This year we were asked to perform at the Zain launch. Michael was one of the judges on the Hot Steps show on NTV. For five weekends in July we had a show Heartless Desire at the National Theatre whose reception was much better than we had anticipated,” she says with satisfaction.
Michael jumps in: “Heartless Desire was the first of its kind in Uganda; a musical theatrical production. Many of the people who came had never seen anything like it and if you read their comments in the visitors’ book, they are amazing. Heartless
Desire is a story told entirely in dance, no words.
Many theatre goers here did not know that could be done. They were also amazed by the cast. We roughly needed about 50 people to pull it off. That is about the biggest cast ever seen on a Ugandan stage.”
The show so impressed that Kombat Dancers have been asked to take it on tour to Rwanda in October this year. Michael hints that after the Rwanda tour, Heartless Desire will be back in the theatre in December with what he calls, “an uploaded version.”
Sandwiched between all that is another demanding engagement with the Passa Passa Reloaded dance off competition where Kombat Dancers will train the various groups in boot camp.
The tough demands of meeting all these obligations do not affect their personal life, Michael argues.
“It is natural for me to work with Natasha. Everything comes naturally. We agree and disagree all the time. We can even do it in the presence of a client but we do it from a business angle. When it is business, it is business. We hardly ever let the other part of our relationship come into it. Respect for each other is what has enabled us to work so well together.”
Well, whole empires are said to crumble under the weight of this small word, love; for now, Michael and Natasha’s destinies seem to depend on it.