Celebrating 25 Years of Maqoma Magic this Festive Season

An explosion of dance, music and entertainment will lift the roof of Gold Reef City’s Lyric Theatre on 3 and 4 December 2015, when Greg Maqoma and Friends take to the stage to toast Maqoma’s 25 remarkable years as a professional dancer.

In honour of this milestone, Gregory Maqoma will be joined by members of the Vuyani Dance Theatre company, as well as songbird Sibongile Khumalo, vocal-harmony group the Complete Quartet and fashion designer David Tlale – in a show brimming with surprises and unexpected delights.

Conceived by Maqoma and directed by Vuyani Artistic Director Luyanda Sidiya, the 2015 Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance, Greg Maqoma and Friends will pay homage to Maqoma’s quarter-century in the arts – as dancer, choreographer, industry shape-shifter, mentor, teacher and social entrepreneur.

The founder and executive director of Vuyani Dance Theatre has travelled a long road, strewn with achievements and accolades, since 1990.

Born in Soweto, Maqoma grew up near a hostel and was fascinated by the migrant labourers who would dance there over the weekends. It eventually dawned on him it was their way of dealing with their displacement as well as their dire personal circumstances. Little did the teenager know that he would later inspire others to lift themselves out of similarly disadvantaged backgrounds through the arts.

At the age of 16, he enrolled for dance training at Moving Into Dance (today Moving Into Dance Mophatong), to which he would return in 2002 to serve a five-year stint as associate artistic director.

Today, Maqoma is an internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, teacher, director and scriptwriter who has played a pivotal role in developing the arts on the continent, particularly dance.

As the head of a thriving contemporary dance company, he continues to grace the world’s stages with impressive works rooted in his personal experiences of South Africa and the world, including high-profile international collaborations.

During his distinguished career, Maqoma has collaborated with numerous South African artists, including dancers, prominent musicians, actors, film directors, visual artists and noted fashion designers. He will be joined by some of these industry luminaries on stage during Greg Maqoma and Friends, in an evening toasting the power of partnerships and the influence of this dynamic creative force.

In addition to the likes of Khumalo and Tlale, Maqoma will be joined on stage by about 200 children who benefit from Vuyani’s outreach projects – a tangible embodiment of his company’s arts legacy.

Over two nights, Johannesburg audiences can expect a festive entertainment spectacle brimming with dance, live music and nostalgic highlights. They will witness how, at the age of 42, Gregory Vuyani Maqoma’s dancing still pulsates with strength and vitality, seasoned with a richness that comes through knowledge and experience, and will see just why this trailblazer continues to captivate audiences from Beijing to Barcelona.

Greg Maqoma and Friends can be seen at the Lyric at Gold Reef City on Thursday, 3 December and Friday, 4 December 2015. Booking is open at Computicket and tickets start at R140. Vuyani Dance Theatre gratefully acknowledges the support of the National Arts Council, Rand Merchant Bank and Business & Arts South Africa.

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