At 25 years old, Keo Motsepe has set more records than most entertainers do in a lifetime. Currently, the youngest male dancer to star on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Keo is also the first African-American series regular in the show’s 21 seasons.
Born in Pretoria, South Africa and raised in nearby Johannesburg, Keo’s love affair with dancing started when he was just five years old. Inspired by the music of childhood idol, Michael Jackson, and influenced by a popular South African Latin Ballroom dance television show “The Summit”, Keo easily replicated sophisticated choreography despite never having had a lesson.
Realizing Keo had a natural gift, his parents enrolled him in dance school. Within a year, the dance prodigy was catapulted onto the competitive amateur dance scene. Through the encouragement and praise of his first dance teacher who recognized Keo’s potential, Keo and his family made the difficult decision to allow him to move away from home and in with his dance partner’s family so they could practice daily. So began years of a rigorous schedule of school followed by rehearsals.
The discipline and sacrifice paid off. By the age of 11, Keo was representing South Africa in international Latin Ballroom dance competitions. He won his first contest at the age of 14, and reigned for eight straight years as the South African Latin Dance Champion.
In 2012, Keo made history by becoming the first South African to join the Burn the Floor world tour where he was a principal dancer. He also performed in the show’s weekly productions aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s “Getaway” Ship.
Keo’s unparalleled talent soon caught the attention of television producers and, the following year, he made his television debut on Strictly Come Dancing in South Africa, the BBC version of Dancing with the Stars.
The impression on BBC Producers was lasting. In 2014, Keo was invited to come to America and join the cast of their sister production, ABC’s smash hit Dancing with the Stars, becoming the first African-American cast member in the Show’s history in the process. Keo is now starring in his third consecutive season and has been partnered with athlete Lolo Jones, model Charlotte McKinney, and music legend Chaka Khan.
Off the floor, Keo spends his time serving as an ambassador for the youth-based non-profit Star Individuality Foundation which provides funding and resources to help children and teenagers fulfill their professional creative dreams. He also volunteers at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Mattel Children’s Hospital of UCLA and the Veterans Affairs Hospital of Los Angeles.