If you were to hear his name maybe you would not know who we’re talking about but if you were to see him ‘whacking and Voguing’ you would definitely know who were going on about. Although when one mentions Vintage Cru I am sure you recall the Voguing, ponytails and floor drops in their dance routines.
Lee-ché Janecke has become a well-known and well sought after dancer/choreographer and has made himself a name in the entertainment industry.
From the humble beginnings of dancing as a child and not taking the craft very seriously, dance became Lee- ché’s career. He started out at a very “silly” gig as he recalls it but it paved the way for his now blossoming career as an entertainer.
“Well, my actual dancing career started in the year 2010 when I got my 1st gig. A silly gig might I add, but it was the hunger to be onstage that kept me motivated and I was getting a bit of money from it.”
Did you ever think at the beginning of everything that you’d be this big dancer/choreographer that’s well sought after?
That’s the craziest part about all of this, I just never knew that this would be the outcome and also not at this young age. I was doing it because I enjoyed it and when it became my career I had to make it that prominent that I could live off it.
I always say I never knew when my breakthrough was but GOD has directed me on his perfect path and everything that is happening to my life right now is as a result of him.
Vintage Cru, can you tell us how the dance crew came to be?
Vintage Cru was founded by Ashwin Bosman and I in 2011.A conversation sparked up between us on Facebook, in that year, both of us had come from dance crews and just felt like we were not comfortable in them anymore. We created an all-male waacking and vogue oriented group because those were dance styles that were not prominent in SA at the time. We enlisted more people and added elements of fashion and imagery in visuals that made our dance crew or as we called it ‘Haus’ an entirely new part of popular culture, which is now internationally sought after.
How did you feel when Vintage cru was receiving recognition and becoming a household name?
It never mattered to me. I was aware that people were recognizing us, but my ultimate goal for Vintage Cru was not to fall into the trap of becoming content, because that comes as a result of too much attention. I wanted longevity, icon status, and a legacy that would speak volumes even beyond our existence on this planet. Hence, the name Vintage. I just needed us to remain grounded and humble and allow the natural flow of our work to do the talking.
It has been years since the inception of V.C., are the original members still a part of the crew?
The original members who remain as part of Vintage Cru at the moment are myself, Sikelela Nomvete and Tarryn Alberts.
The rest left for a variety of reasons. Some changed careers and others just didn’t add any value to the brand anymore. Fights, emotions and turmoil like any group element can cause a rift but that’s life and how it goes.
When V.C. was gaining recognition and appearing on TV, you had a different, unconventional style that made you different. Did you as a crew face any negative commentary or criticism for it?
Our image played a very important part in our brand getting recognition worldwide. We pushed boundaries, we did a lot of things that challenged the status quota, that left people uncomfortable, left people gasping but that was what we wanted. We wanted to get the topic going. We wanted people to see a different point of view. As a result of our carefree nature we did face major criticism from all avenues but we pushed through. We got assaulted at Bree taxi rank not only because of homophobia but it was our clothing that played a part in that. We were unorthodox to a regular citizen.
What’s on the cards for Vintage Cru?
Vintage crew has branched off into music. We’ve always wanted to do visuals with our own music, our own choreography and own styling. Soon you’ll get to see some stuff. Haha! You know how we are.
What’s next for Lee- ché?
Lee-ché is enjoying life so much right now. I’m doing what I love and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
I’ve started my own company, HOV Productions. HOV houses over 50 dancers whom I provide to clients, agencies, shows, advertisements, music videos, magazines, corporates, etc., this in turn allows me to introduce elements of styling, consultations for artists, video directing, photography and things that I am already passionate about all under one hub. I’m quiet about what I do and just allow people to be amazed when they see my work, so with that said I am excited for the things I’m not aware of.
For now, my company is my biggest focus.
Please tell us five things we’d be surprised to know about Lee-ché
- I was a nerd.
- I am the sweetest guy you’ll meet, not a dragon.
- I have pretty feet contrary to popular tales about dancers.
- I hate compliments.
- I have a fear of heights.