Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT) undertakes to stay true to its resolve to remain at the top, if not the best, in the creative industry, to continue to develop dance, and for its practitioners to stand and be counted among the highest disciplines in the general sphere of the creative arts. Vuyani Dance Theatre is involved in the development of the artistic landscape of the country and plays an active role in inspiring a new generation of artists.
As VDT maps out the next 20 years, Vuyani aims to generate enough income to sustain these programmes and continue making a difference in the lives of South Africans, especially its youth. Most importantly, one of the company’s main objectives is to raise funds to build a permanent home for the work that we continue to do.
The culture of work that has transpired post-apartheid has largely become fragmented by people trying to serve their own needs and short-term loyalties. However, the culture of the VDT family has been about a legacy that can be accomplished with team work; with the way the team relates to each other and by joining individual forces with the idea of coming together to do something great. Great without thinking of greatness weakens the electrons bonding these genius molecules together. The envisioned move to a permanent home is a greater move that is set to achieve greatness, not only for VDT as an entity but also as a way to redress the societal imbalances and hopefully release this generation of dancers from the entrapment of urban poverty. Self-determination, transformation, faith and hope are key to the fundamental ethos that the new home should achieve through community development strategies, asset-building business models, training and leadership. The VDT move is intended to educate, challenge and mobilise individuals and organisations and the public at large to make communities a better place to live – and work towards sustainable change by using dance as a vehicle for creating jobs in the arts sector and continue to contribute significantly to the country’s GDP by creating cutting-edge, world-class productions that are sure to lead the arts export market.
A permanent home for VDT would mean that the company can execute programmes with certainty and security that will allow VDT to plan properly for the future, thus enabling the company to engage more talented youths in the training programmes. This home would extend the company’s ability to create bigger and innovative productions and would create more employment opportunities for those in the sector and contribute directly to the sustainability of the organisation beyond the dependency on grant funding.
‘We’ve all been hit by that urge. You know the one where a beat meets your body and your head starts to bob, then your shoulders start to wiggle, and the next thing you know, your hips are swaying. Often I have asked myself how is it that dance is so ingrained in what it means to be connected to other humans? I see dance as a common thread to humans around the world, as what often connects us is way cooler than what separates us,’ comments Smangaliso Ngwenya, a senior dancer at VDT.
Over the years of working with youth, VDT realised one of the greatest benefits of dance is that it sparks a youth’s imagination and nurtures individual creativity in a unique way. Our dance training, both in the studio and at our outreach stations, shares the joy of physical self-expression in a supportive and structured setting. Involving youth in dance also teaches the basic elements of creative movement such as time, space, rhythm and design. While people may not be as familiar with African contemporary dance as with ballet or jazz, contemporary dance in particular honours the creative spirit and celebrates the individual. African contemporary dance does not simply conform to conventional movements, shapes and patterns. Instead, it requires the young dancer to learn movement from the inside out, nurturing the body and focusing the mind. It is with this in mind that Vuyani Dance Theatre continues the campaign to find a permanent home for its programmes.
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