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Going back to go forward

2019 marks 20 years of Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT), which will be celebrated through the campaign #Vuyani20. VDT is the only full-time, black-founded dance and theatre institution and company to survive the trials and tribulations facing the arts – and not only survive but grow to become a leader in the field of dance education, performance and choreography.

Vuyani dance company Gregory Maqoma
Gregory Maqoma in Beautiful Me

Vuyani Dance Theatre was established in 1999 by Gregory Maqoma as a catalyst for a cultural awakening in our country and to give black artists in particular, given our painful history, a space to unleash their creative potential. Over the years, the company has established a footprint with a reach of more than 100 cities around the world. VDT produces award-winning artists and productions, including two Standard Bank Young Artists for Dance, the inaugural Sophie Mgcina Emerging Artist Award, a Tunkie Award for Leadership in Dance, seven Gauteng MEC Awards for choreography and dance, a New York City Bessie Award and recently, the French government’s Chevalier des Arts et Lettres.
     In celebrating the 20th anniversary, the company will be looking back at the pillars that have led to the success Vuyani has enjoyed. Beautiful Me, one of Maqoma’s early works, will be performed at the Holland Festival on 11 and 12 June 2019. This piece is Maqoma’s investigation into identity in relation to history, humanity and nature. A cocktail of movement, text and music influenced by three master choreographers who have had a great impact on him: Akram Khan’s Contemporary Kathak; Faustin Linyekula’s visual dance-theatre; and Vincent Mantsoe’s Afro-fusion. Layered on these distinct and diverse styles is his own unique lightness and humour, under the direction of Gerard Bester.
     Exit/Exist, the award-winning work performed in multiple cities across five continents to great acclaim, returns to the Market Theatre during Africa Month from 9 to 19 May.

To read more on the award-winning work, Exit/Exist, or about the #Vuyani20 celebrations at Joburg Theatre in September, purchase the February 2019 issue of Creative Feel, or to continue supporting our role within the South African arts and culture industry, subscribe to our monthly magazine from only R180.00 per year.

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