I met Ronie Saleh for the second time at the Afromoves Kizomba Festival. He met me, all team members and guests with his very special nature, openness and warmth. He took the time and told me his story. Learn more in our article.

An Interview by Eva Fischer

Converting the weakness into a strength

Hard to believe, Ronie stuttered his entire life, already as a child. That’s why he was looking for a different way to express himself better: through dancing and singing. “If you can’t express yourself in words, you have to find another way. When I sang, I did not stutter. Singing and dancing were my therapy.” 

Already from the age of 9 he was singing on stage and later won singing and dancing competitions. What’s more, he taught himself dancing by watching videos.

The decision to follow his passion

Through his own therapy at a speech & language pathologist (SLP), he decided to study SLP himself. He wanted to help others as he was helped.

After graduating in 2014, he worked for a clinic and decided later on to open a clinic in Stockholm with three other people, a “stutter center”. It was the only center of its kind in the whole of Scandinavia and he was very successful with it. In the same year he discovered Kizomba in a Foxtrot workshop he attended. A bit later he attended one of Albir’s musicality workshops which caught his attention. He was enthusiastic and asked himself, “Why do I see myself standing there and teaching?” His biggest fear has always been having to speak in front of people. Later on, his dance school at the time offered him a job as a dance teacher for Kizomba, and he also started to teach a new style he created: FoxKiz (Modern Fox with Kizomba influences). During this time, he learned what it means to teach and applied his knowledge from the past, from other dances and also from the time as a SLP.

Ronie Saleh & brother at the 6th afromoves festival, Ludwigsburg

Ronie & Armanch workshop. foto: Photoart Eichin

The passion for dance grew and he decided to quit his SLP job. He took the full risk, gave up his material security, quit his apartment, sold his car and moved back to his parents to save money. At the time he was only booked for four events in Sweden.

He was successful very quickly. At each of these events, three people asked him if he wanted come to their events and like this his track record started. 2017, he was booked 47 out of 52 weekends and today, he is already pretty much fully booked until 2020.

Variations instead of long sequences of steps

He began to teach Kizomba only six months after he started learning it. Thus, at first, he did not know many steps and focused therefore only on variations of the same steps. It’s his talent to create many different variations of the same steps and that’s how he taught his students. He received a lot of positive feedback. Many dancers were able to realize this in their dance more than the usually long sequences of steps. From Ronie they learned instead how to vary short sequences to music. “I teach as I would like to be taught”.

The spiritual side of the dance

Kwenda’s Kaizen dance inspired him a lot. Kwenda is known for being a spiritual teacher, not for teaching many steps.

Ronie is aware of the importance of the connection between people. He is convinced that people do not come to class to learn many steps, they come primarily for the connection with each other.

Thus, spirituality became an important part of his classes as well. He takes his time and asks the students for example to look each other in the eye with full attention or to embrace each other attentively. “In the end we are all connected. In my lessons, I remind the students about it “.

His new project

Ronie Saleh. foto: imito

Ronie is traveling internationally, from Asia to Hawaii. Since he can be in these places only for a short time and the students asked him to see him more often, he decided to start a new project – online courses. By now, his new online courses can be downloaded at www.roniesaleh.com. These videos are meant to be complementary to his workshops at festivals and bootcamps, not a substitute.

He was looking forward to his new project and was excited because it is something new for him to teach through the camera. He explicitly asks for feedback so he can improve in his mission to create the best Kizomba online classes.

All in its proper time

His view on the development of the Kizomba scene: “Everything happens at its time and everything develops. There is nothing new under the sun. Everything is just new combinations. With our creativity we create new combinations, as well as in dance. We should stop criticizing each other if someone wants to do something new. “

He had to struggle with a lot with negativity from others, above all from other teachers in the scene. However, the feedback from the students is very positive, so didn’t let himself to be held back and continued. “Fusions and developments are natural! The students will always ask for the roots of the dance. They should learn from different teachers and make their experiences. The development itself is unstoppable. “

Ronie’s slogan: “Unleash Your Spirit”

“My biggest passion is to inspire others to become their best version”

His fears at young age greatly restricted him, so now he wants to fully unfold. He has learned not to be held back by his speech disorder and wants to inspire other people not to be disturbed or held back by obstacles or other people. “We are in this world only a short time. This is the school of life! Inspire people by who you are, so they dare to be themselves fully as well”. 

With his slogan “Unleash Your Sprit” and the logo of the two wings, he wants to symbolize just that. He wants to show people that they can surpass themselves. “If you want to pursue a passion, it takes time. And you need that time to become an expert at what you do, then people pay for your expertise. But most people are too scared. They want security and therefore do not become experts in their passions. You need courage to follow your passion.”

“Always remember: make the most of your time, make the most of your abilities and what you were born with. Unleash Your Spirit FULLY. Always choose love and compassion towards yourself and others instead of fear and self-doubt. Believe in your uniqueness. No one else is the same as you. Die original rather than a copy “

Ronie around the world

On his website www.roniesaleh.com you can find all the festivals where you can attend his workshops.

Ronie Saleh – an inspiring and thought-provoking person who manages to fill others with enthusiasm and emotions.

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