Our lives, our stories

‘My heart is aware, my soul is accepting, my spirit is willing, my being is ready and God is in control, yet I find myself in a constant tug of war with myself,’ Thabang Mojapelo explains the inspiration to her solo piece Tug of War, which she will perform at Vuyani Dance Theatre’s development showcase on the 27 September 2018.

Our lives, our stories, Vuyani dance theatre Roseline Wilkens
Roseline Wilkens PHOTO Marijke Willems

This showcase forms part of the trainee programme’s assessments, where all trainees create a ten-minute solo piece to present to invited industry influencers and their peers in similar programmes in the performing arts space. The training programme is focused on dance skills, technique and choreography with the aim to give youth from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to hone in on their natural dance talent and excel in the African contemporary dance aesthetic. The one-year programme gives Vuyani Dance Theatre the opportunity to develop future dancers, dance teachers and choreographers with the latitude of giving the trainees access to other skills, such as costume, lighting, sound and set design. Through this training, we are able to have a consistent supply of exceptional dancers, dance teachers and choreographers who are exposed to external exponents that enhance the trainees’ skills inherent to the larger contemporary dance discipline.
     Roseline Keppler, a senior dancer in the Vuyani stable, will also be presenting Cry the Beloved Eldos, a piece she has created. In this piece, she reaffirms that our lives matter through the rights, the wrongs and the stigmas we carry. She asks humanity to reflect on who we are, what our purpose is in life and what role we play in building a better society.

The training programme is focused on dance skills, technique and choreography with the aim to give youth from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to hone in on their natural dance talent and excel in the African contemporary dance aesthetic.

Our lives, our stories, Vuyani dance theatre, Otto Nhlapo
Otto Nhlapo PHOTO Marijke Willems

     The showcase is also a step toward curating an enthralling programme for the annual Vuyani Week, which was created for VDT dancers, trainees in the programme and protégés at the various outreach stations we work with as a platform to stage the set piece that had been taught at the stations throughout the year. Vuyani Week also offers emerging choreographers an opportunity to mount their choreographic work on professional dancers.
     Otto Nhlapo speaks about the work he is developing for the showcase: ‘Each dancer in the Vuyani studio has a unique story to tell and the company emphasises that we are not just a dance company but storytellers. I want to tell a story about the triumphs of black South Africans who were relegated to townships in the apartheid government as a way to decapitate our progress. Through all of those struggles, we found ourselves building our own inherent culture which has become a source of strength.’
     Vuyani’s founding objective, using dance in a provocative and ambitious way as a vehicle to create sustainable arts jobs, is entrenched in making sure that the trainees that come into our programme walk away with as much skill and experience that the company can possibly offer them.