Meet the Vuyani Dancers at Joys of Sharing

Vuyani Dancers at Joys of Sharing
Vuyani Dance Theatre dancers: Lulu Mlangeni, Julia Burnham, Roseline Wilkens & Sinazo Bokolo. Photograph by Marijke Willems.

Meet the dancers from Vuyani Dance Theatre from Joys of Sharing, a sensational collaboration of music and dance on Gold Reef City’s Lyric Theatre stage. 

The ten phenomenal dancers from the Vuyani Dance Theatre along with much-decorated dancer and choreographer, Gregory Maqoma; Afro-soul goddess, Simphiwe Dana and GRAMMY-winning flautist, Wouter Kellerman that forme the triple-shot of star power at Joys of Sharing.

Lulu Mlangeni

Lulu Mlangeni is currently a dancer and artistic assistant at Vuyani Dance Theatre. She was the overall winner of So You Think You Can Dance, South Africa season two and a nominee at the Lesedi Awards 2010. Lulu recently won the Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice Award at the Naledi Theatre Awards.

Vuyani Dancers at Joys of Sharing
Vuyani Dance Theatre dancers: Lulu Mlangeni, Julia Burnham, Roseline Wilkens & Sinazo Bokolo. Photograph by Marijke Willems.
Julia Burnham

Julia began dancing at a young age with various community groups in Alexandra Township. Burnham did modern dance and traditional dance forms which influenced her to join Moving Into Dance Mophatong (MIDM), where she later progressed to being a full time company member.

She has worked with various choreographers and accomplished an award for best upcoming dancer for the Joburg City Festival. She took part in the first crossings project and the 2010 Fifa World Cup Concert. Burnham has toured in various European countries whilst at MIDM Company.

In 2014, Burnham joined Vuyani Dance Theatre where she worked closely with Gregory Maqoma and Luyanda Sidiya. She has taken part in the Metro FM annual Awards, appeared in Kudu which is a collaboration between Vuyani Dance Theatre and Eric Trufaz and The Quartet, she has also performed at the Presidential Inaugurations, appeared in Fullmoon, Ketekang directed by James Ngcobo and various other corporate gigs. Julia was recently promoted to senior dancer at VDT.

Sinazo Bokolo

Sinazo Bokolo-Bruns trained with the Ballet Theatre Afrikan Dance Academy with Martin Schoenberg for five years and was strictly trained in ballet before joining Moving into Dance to be introduced to Contemporary African Dance. At the age of 17, she moved to Cape Town where she then attended the JAZZART where she was Introduced to many different genres of dance such as Gumboot, Tap, Indian, Salsa, Pantsula and Hip Hop. Sinazo was then accepted to be part of the Jazzart professional company and stayed on for two years. She is currently at Vuyani Dance Theatre as a junior dancer.

Vuyani Dancers at Joys of Sharing
Vuyani Dance Theatre dancers: Xolisile Bongwana, Phumlani Nyanga, Otto Nhlapo, Kwazi Madlala & Phumlani Mndebele. Photograph by Marijke Willems.
Kwazi Madlala

Kwazi Madlala began dancing at a young age with Vaya Kasi Dance group in the township of Khustong. He has worked with choreographer, Sello Modiga and received a certificate in dance under his direction. In 2014, he took part in the Bosasa Youth Development centre as a performer in Sello Modiga’s work.

He joined Vuyani Dance Theatre in 2014 as a trainee and he is still furthering his training with the company. During his time a Vuyani, he has been involved with and performed in a project called Spring Loaded, a collaboration between the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, Vuyani Dance Theatre, Moving Into Dance and Sibikwa, directed by PJ Sabbagha. He also took part in the annual Vuyani Week, sharing the stage with the company’s senior and junior dancers and their apprentices.

In June 2015, Kwazi had his choreographic debut while working with James Ngcobo, Market Theatre Artistic Director, on Jazz Town. While appearing in all of Vuyani Dance Theatre productions, Madlala also appeared on stage as part of the Joburg Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet season in July 2016.

Otto Nhlapo

Otto Nhlapo started out with the Juvenile Development Cultural Group in 2004, specialising in Zulu dance genres (Umkhomazi, Isizingili and Umzansi). He has performed for dignitaries including President Jacob Zuma and former President Thabo Mbeki. In 2013, he joined Vuyani Dance Theatre as a junior company member and, after three months, was promoted to be a senior company member where he then got an opportunity to tour with the company overseas.

He performed with the company at the Metro FM awards 2013 and at the Inauguration in 2014. He has toured countries like France, Finland, Germany, Sweden, and New York to name a few. Otto had the privilege to perform works of great choreographers in the country, works like Four Seasons, Kudu and Wake Up choreographed by Gregory Vuyani Maqoma. In addition, he also performed works like Umnikelo, Dominion and 7 Pillars choreographed by Luyanda Sidiya.

Vuyani Dancers at Joys of Sharing
Vuyani Dance Theatre dancers: Xolisile Bongwana, Sinazo Bokolo, Julia Burnham, Phumlani Nyanga, Roseline Wilkens, Otto Nhlapo, Lulu Mlangeni, Kwazi Madlala & Phumlani Mndebele. Photograph by Marijke Willems.
Phumlani Nyanga

Phumlani Nyanga started his dance career in 1996. He was a full-time dancer at Guild Theatre and won the Dance Umbrella Pick of the Stepping Stones in 2010. Phumlani then joined Moving Into Dance residency training programme and is currently a dancer and rehearsal director at VDT.

Xolisile Bongwana

Xolisile’s dance career started in 1999. In 2005, he joined Uphondo Lwe Africa and toured with Dodgy Clutch Company from 2006 to 2011. Xolisile has worked with world-renowned choreographer, Robyn Orlin and is currently a senior dancer and production assistant at VDT.

Phumlani Mndebele

Mndebele joined Vuyani Dance Theatre in 2013 as a trainee where he performed with the company in Dominion as his debut in the professional world of contemporary and theatre. He has performed at the Metro FM Music Awards; Fall for Dance Festival in New York City; Kudu, a collaboration between Vuyani Dance Theatre and Eric Truffaz Quartet which travelled to a few cities around France in 2014 and 2015; the National Presidential Inauguration; and Full Moon production which featured the National Youth Orchestra, Mazda Launch, De Beers and Jewellex, to mention a few. He recently got promoted to being a senior dancer in the company.

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