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South African Dancer is New Rolex Protégé

Yound and talented South African dancer, Londiwe Khoza is the new Rolex Protégé.

Every year, seven highly gifted young artists from around the world are chosen to join one of the world’s leading arts philanthropy programmes: the Rolex Protégé and Mentor Arts Initiative. This year, Israeli mentor Ohad Naharin selected South African dancer Londiwe Khoza for the latest cycle of the programme.

Among the new Rolex protégés are a Swiss architect, a writer from Brazil; a Peruvian musician; an Argentinian/Spanish theatre artist; a filmmaker from India; a Vietnamese visual artist and Londiwe Khoza, a dancer from South Africa. They will be mentored by some of the most acclaimed figures in the contemporary arts worldwide:

  • British architect Sir David Chipperfield;
  • Mexican film director Alfonso Cuarón;
  • Poet and novelist Mia Couto from Mozambique;
  • American composer Philip Glass;
  • Canadian theatre director Robert Lepage;
  • American performance video artist Joan Jonas; and
  • Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin.

Every two years, an ‘Arts Weekend’ is held to celebrate the achievements of the Rolex Protégé and Mentor Arts Initiative. The latest ‘Arts Weekend’ was held in December 2015 in Mexico City and it was evident there that the dance category was one of the most highly contested categories of the Rolex Protégé and Mentor Arts Initiative.

South African Dancer is New Rolex Protégé
South African Dancer, Londiwe Khoza

It is, therefore, a special honour for South Africa that mentor Ohad Naharin selected dancer Londiwe Khoza for the 2016/2017 cycle of the programme. She is a versatile young dancer who, over the past five years, has gained recognition for her exceptional talent in neoclassical and contemporary dance, as well as for her dramatic skills. While a student at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts from January 2012 to December 2014 (where she graduated with Distinction and top honours in multiple disciplines), Khoza was also a soloist at the Cape Dance Company, the professional troupe associated with the school.

During this period, both South African and international choreographers cast her in a variety of ballets, including performances at South Korea’s Busan International Dance Festival. In 2015, she was invited to study at the Central School of Ballet in the UK and to dance with the Joburg Ballet, one of South Africa’s most prestigious ballet companies. She has recently returned to the Cape Dance Company where she will perform until July 2016.

‘I want to be the kind of artist who changes people’s lives. I want to inspire, to motivate, to make a mark. Art is, at the end of the day, so much greater than the artist.’ – Londiwe Khoza

With her forthcoming collaboration with Ohad Naharin, she hopes to explore and unlock the potential within herself under the guidance of one of the world’s most innovative choreographers. Ohad Naharin, one of today’s pre-eminent and visionary choreographers, is renowned for pioneering some of the most inventive and intriguing styles of movement in contemporary dance. His choreography and teaching have drawn a devoted following throughout the dance world, especially in his native Israel.

South African Dancer is New Rolex Protégé
Israeli mentor, Ohad Naharin.

Artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv since 1990, Naharin began his training with the troupe in 1974 at age 22. Dance legend, Martha Graham’s visit to Israel changed his life as, as she invited him to join her company in New York. Naharin went on to study at New York’s School of American Ballet, the Juilliard School and with various masters before building an international career and performing with Israel’s Bat-Dor Dance Company and Maurice Bejart’s ballet in Brussels. In 1980, he made his choreographic debut and formed the Ohad Naharin Dance Company.

He has choreographed over 20 works for Batsheva during 26 years with the company. As well as for its junior division, Batsheva Ensemble. Londiwe Khoza’s excitement was apparent at the time of the Rolex announcement ceremony in Cape Town. She is looking forward to her imminent departure to Israel. Ohad Naharin, speaking from Tel Aviv, said: ‘My hope is always to encourage a dancer’s ability to interpret. Using the full scope of sensations – so that new content is given to a performance that I (the choreographer) did not “write”. It is this ability that I cherish and I wish to be able to teach.’

Images are courtesy of The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

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