From Grass To Grace: Valentino’s Journey To Becoming A Professional Latin & Ballroom Dancer



Valentino Richard Kabenge is proof that dreams come true when you reflect on his journey as an ordinary person that is now rubbing shoulders with the world’s talented Latin & Ballroom dancers.


During the Groove Cafe interview with Crystal Newman on RX Radio, Valentino, the founder of Val Rich Arts, admitted that through passion, determination, and prayer, he has reached the milestones he had never thought he would.


“At first, I went to South Africa and studied at Kim Isaac’s dance studio in 2021, and when I look back, I realize that I am lucky. From rearing cows in Kyebando, I was in South Africa training with this lady who has trained champions in South Africa and worldwide,” he said.


Valentino, who worked as an actor in 2016, began the transition to dance after the influence of a friend named Moses, who took him with him to dance classes.


The reception of the dancers and their hospitality attracted and kept him hinged.

“I enjoyed the warmth around Latin dancing. There is an etiquette, togetherness, and beauty of people easily accepting and welcoming you,” he said.


He got into professional dancing in 2016 after performing in a television show, Don’t Mess With Ann Kansime.


“I was looking for what to do next. I had gone to many other acting auditions and got rejected. One time, I was at the National Theatre, and a song of the Ramba played. Due to confidence, when people left, I got on the dance floor with my dance partner, and we made imperfect postures, and after dancing, people gave us a round of applause,” Valentino narrated.


To his surprise, the crowd was amazed by their dance moves which gave him the courage to continue practicing and thinking about it. “Given that I was an actor before, I was very passionate about storytelling and watching people enjoy them. I then thought about using the power of dance to communicate with people,” he said.


More interesting is that Valentino is a self-taught Latin and Ballroom dancer, who learned from watching various videos on Youtube before he got exposed to trainers. The professional dancer performs at weddings and other functions, trains young and adults in choreography, and has been representing the country at different internationally recognized stages.


The Groove Cafe with Crystal Newman airs every Weekday from 4-5 pm on RX Radio.


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