Our Art and Entertainment Editor Zela Gayle shares with us the life of Aron Mitu, an Ethiopian born dancer, model and actress with an ambition to close the gap between her culture and an all European environment
Aron Mitu remembers feeling sad and confused upon leaving Ethiopia when she was just ten years old. Growing up in Slovakia where her parents migrated for work and study, little Aron was forced to accept her importance as the only Ethiopian in her school. There she realized how fortunate she was to have spent the first ten years of her life in Ethiopia, the country of her Birth, because everywhere she went people stared; classes were often disrupted because pupils could only concentrate on detecting her difference. Later on this was to set a pattern of visibility for Aron as she rejected her parent’s desires for her future as an academic and went on fulfilling her inner dreams of becoming a professional dancer & choreographer.
In an exclusive interview with this magazine, Aron reveals how challenging her life as a black dancer in Slovakia was (and still is). “It is still not easy. I am still fighting with the way how people see me; when they see some black person dancing, singing or playing some instruments they take it like it’s supposed to be like this automatically. So we need to work harder than others to show them that it’s not just because we are black but also because we have to work hard at it.”
Soon Aron came to terms with the fact that in order to establish oneself as a serious professional one has to move beyond race and color and excel in the skills and zeal of the discipline of dance. After all European perceptions of Africans encompasses dance as something which black people naturally do and are good at it.
In 2006, when she turned 19, self-taught and determined Aron Mitul launched her dance career yearning for the faces and culture of other African artists who expressed themselves professionally through dance, music & acting. She then established her own hip-hop dance centre with the Lil’ Mitu’s Dance Crew where she continued to practice her choreography and play host to many international dancers in collaborative workshops.
The opportunity to develop her dancing skills of study came with classes in her 2007 visit to many cities in the neighboring Czech Republic. Aron recalls travelling nine hours by train to get there. With a range of artists and styles to learn such as “Krumping” from Tight Eyez, “Locking” from Toni GoGo and Don Campbell and House Dance from Calif to name a few, Aron built up her confidence in her style and hosted a hip-hop workshop back in Slovakia for the dancer Dante 7 from the USA. With very little existence of hip-hop and dancehall culture in Košice, where she grew up, Aron became a key element in establishing a series of dance classes for kids and adults.
Her most notable success has come from choreographing music videos for very famous singers in Slovakia namely Tina, Celeste Buckingham and the rapper Cistychov. Yet it was her choreography for singer Nicole J. McCloud who Aron toured with to Hungary and Austria in the year 2010 that got her the most recognition for her dancing, paving the way for her to become the main choreographer for Nicole J. McCloud who is now competing in The X Factor USA 2013 as the singer, Lillie McCloud.
Her love of Reggae and Hip Hop
Coupled with the love of the rhythms of Reggae and Hip Hop in her bones, Aron placed her dancing feet on the stage of many European festivals in 2009 and has been on the rise ever since. The touring of Aron Mitu Classes became a feature of many European Festivals with the most recent being in Slovakia at The Uprising International Reggae Festival, where she held daily workshops as Dance Lecturer in Hip Hop & Reggae Dancehall 2013. She also led the class at the annual Overjam Festival in Slovenia in August 2013.
Aron continues her drive to share her dance expertise with people of her own culture as she has felt the gap between her culture and an all European environment, focussing on her developing career as dancer, model and actress. She enjoys the visibility her beauty conveys and is thankful for the many opportunities living in Europe affords her. Yet, there is no place like home and Aron is quietly meditative about returning home to Ethiopia.
“I do miss people from my country, or I can say black people who are not staring at me just because I am black. When I meet people and they are talking about Ethiopia I feel great and proud. I also always say that I am from Ethiopia not Slovakia”.
She is currently working on developing vocal training and is learning the Piano as an instrument. Aron is highly motivated and her experience of being always visible has successfully recreated her position to succeed. She is confident in speaking of her life assuring the reader that, “the greatest success for me is meeting people from the Art world. Recognizing that I am somebody and I can express the feelings I want. This I found from creating dance with people”.
Photo –Kristina Vavreková