“Dancing the imagination.”
Chief Executive Officer : Lindiwe Letwaba
Founder & Creative Director : Gregory Maqoma
Rehearsal Director : Otto Nhlapo
Production and Marketing Manager : Siyandiswa Dokoda
Board of Directors : Dr. Thuthula Balfour; Thandiwe Msibi; Dumo Mbethe;
Vonani Mathebula; Gregory Maqoma (Exec)
Patrons: Judge Edwin Cameron; Advocate Pinky Mokhatla; Mr Paul Mees; Dr. Sibongile Khumalo
Your definitive company of choice for choreographed and directed productions
Vuyani Dance Theatre’s latest flight of choreographic fancy and stage direction may be inspired by many artistic influences, but it is rooted in the concrete reality of our collective vision:
Using dance in a provocative and ambitious way as a vehicle to create sustainable arts jobs
It is because of this vision that Vuyani Dance Theatre continues to evolve in a courageous and innovative way directly contributing to the South African creative economy.
About Vuyani Dance Theatre
The Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT) is a contemporary African dance company founded in 1999 by Creative Director Gregory Maqoma. After years of gracing international and local stages, VDT is positioned as one of the most cutting-edge, thought provoking and successful dance and theatrical organisations to have emerged in Africa. VDT is spot-on regarding its artistic objective of producing work that questions and challenges social values while, simultaneously, exploiting history as a launch pad for (material) research and development.
Various themes of concern to young people are also addressed through collaborative methods and forms that involve music and dance styles that are in keeping with the performers’ own lives. Vuyani Dance Theatre approach embraces – in a dynamic and theatrical way – the many tastes, the different motivations, and the diverse cultures that shape the uniqueness of the South African society. Such is achievable courtesy of a pool of diligent creators and dancers who invariably express themselves with artistic excellence.
The company has performed in Europe, the USA, Africa, Mexico and New Zealand. It has scooped top awards in South Africa for dance and choreography and has received international recognition and continues to do so.
VDT constantly finds co-creators and performers from all over the world. Hitherto, the interaction that includes ideas and empirical artistic participation has led VDT in the direction of efficacy. It can be stated without doubt, at the moment, that all who have been aligned (in turns) with VDT since inception have in one way or another gained from the organization.
VDT programmes include:
- Professional Company: Highly trained and highly dedicated team of dancers who formulate VDT‘s professional company. The professional company performs theatre work, corporate gigs and as part of their work they teach and facilitate workshops for schools, institutions and community groups.
- Junior Company: Works as shadow for senior company members and are also utilized in company projects when needed. Junior Company members are drawn from the in-house training programme as an extended training opportunity.
- In-House Training Programme: Intense training in dance movement and choreography skills. Vuyani Dance Theatre feels it needs to plough back as a contribution towards the exposure of many a latent young talent. Also to make sure that we have a consistent supply of well-trained dancers, choreographers and dance teachers.
- Outreach Programme: To reach out to primary schools and community groups in the townships especially those who have the arts and culture programme in the curriculum. Full time dancers are sent to facilitate dance classes twice a week where the end result is the staging of works that have been created for staging at a professional theatre. The outreach programme also helps VDT artistic team to discover and nurture talent at a tender age.
- Corporate Production and Event coordination: Vuyani manages, coordinates and performs productions for corporates. It has produced and performed for companies like De Beers (Forever Mark brand), Audi Awards, MTN Awards, Metro FM Awards, SA Tourism, FIFA 2010 World Cup Kick-Off Concert, 2014 Presidential Inauguration, Mazda Launch, Eskom, Newtown Rejuvenation, Golden Hearts Awards, Mining Indaba.
- Open Dance Classes: Offers a wellness element to the community at large. Giving members an opportunity to transition into dance or simply for a great work-out. The after-hours classes cover different genres of dance such as Hip Hop, Contemporary, Latin, Modern Funk, Afro Rhythm and Yoga.
Vuyani Dance Theatre’s Accomplishments
1999: FNB VITA Choreographer of the Year for Rhythm 1.2.3. To Gregory Maqoma
2000: FNB VITA Most Outstanding Presentation of an Original Contemporary Work for Rhythm Blues to Gregory Maqoma
2000: FNB Vita Dance Umbrella Outstanding Female Dancer for Southern Comfort to Shannel Winlock
2001: FNB Vita Dance Umbrella Outstanding Female Dancer for Rhythm Blues to Shanell Winlock
2001: FNB VITA Best Choreography for Southern Comfort to Gregory Maqoma
2002: FNB Vita Choreographer of The Year for ‘Southern Comfort’ and ‘Ek se…Hola’ to Gregory Maqoma
2002: Standard Bank Young Artist Award to Gregory Maqoma
2005: Gauteng MEC Award – Choreographer of the Year for Beautiful Us to Gregory Maqoma
2006: Gauteng MEC Award – Promising Female Dancer for Rhythm Colour to Lulu Mlangeni
2007: Gauteng MEC Award – Best Choreography in a Contemporary Style to Gregory Maqoma for ‘Beautiful Me’
2007: Gauteng MEC Award –Most Outstanding Presentation of a New Work to Gregory Maqoma for ‘Beautiful Me’
2011: City Festival Awards – Best Dancer trainee to Maleshwane Mohoasi – VDT’s first year student
2011: Dance Manyano Awards – Best Choreographer of the decade award to Gregory Maqoma
2011: Dance Manyano Awards – Best Male Dancer of the decade award to Luyanda Sidiya
2012: A Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award for the work MAYHEM
2012: Tunkie Award for Leadership in Dance – Gregory Maqoma
2014: Naledi Theatre Award – Sophie Mgcina Emerging Artist Award to Lulu Mlangeni
2014: New York Bessie Award for Dance – Outstanding Music Composition in a dance production for Exit/Exist
2014: 2015 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance to Luyanda Sidiya
2017: Chevalier de l’Order des arts et des lettres (Knight of the Arts & Literature) Award to Gregory Maqoma
2018: Pick of the Fringe Award for Ithemba at Jomba to Thulisile Binda
Best Female Performer at the Trade Fair 2018 to Thulisile Binda for SCARS
The Creative Team
Gregory Maqoma – Founder and Creative Director
Gregory Vuyani Maqoma became interested in dance in the late 1980’s as a means to escape the political tensions growing in his place of birth. He started his formal dance training in 1990 at Moving Into Dance where in 2002 he became the Associate Artistic Director. Maqoma has established himself as an internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, teacher and director. He founded Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT) in 1999 when he was undertaking a scholarship at the Performing Arts Research and Training School (PARTS) in Belgium under the direction of Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Maqoma is respected for his collaborations with artists of his generation like Akram Khan, Vincent Mantsoe, Faustin Linyekula, Dada Masilo, Shanell Winlock, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Theatre Director James Ngcobo.
Several works in his repertoire have won him accolades and international acclaim. This includes FNB Vita Choreographer of the Year in 1999, 2001 and 2002 for Rhythm 1.2.3, Rhythm Blues and Southern Comfort respectively. He received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance in 2002. Maqoma was a finalist in the Daimler Chrysler Choreography Award in 2002 and in the Rolex Mentorship Programme in 2003. He is the recipient of the 2012 Tunkie Award for Leadership in Dance. In 2014 he received a “Bessie”, New York City’s premier dance award for Exit/Exist for original music composition. He served as a nominator in the 2016–2017 Rolex Arts Initiative as well as curating the 2017 Main Dance Program for The National Arts Festival. His current works ‘Via Kanana’ and ‘Cion: Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero’ ’ are currently touring in Africa and Europe.
In 2017 Maqoma was honoured by the French Government with the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Arts & Literature) Award. In 2018 was honoured by the South African Department of Arts & Culture with the inaugural Usiba Award for dedication to dance teaching. In 2018 Maqoma is one of the selected visiting artists at the Virginia Commonwealth University Dance Department as well as a visiting teacher at Ecole De Sables – Toubab Dialaw – Senegal. Maqoma is part of the selection committee for Dance Biennale Afrique Festival to take place in Marrakech in 2020.
In 2018 Maqoma is choreographing and performing in William Kentridge’s new opera ‘The Head and The Load’ which premiered at The Tate Modern Gallery in London in July, the world tour includes Germany, Holland, Austria and New York.
An inspirational leader and teacher as well as a creative force, Maqoma has served as associate artistic director of Moving Into Dance Mophatong, the Dance Umbrella festival and the Afro-Vibes Festival in the Netherlands and the UK. He is currently serving on the dance committee of the National Arts Festival.
Maqoma teaches at various universities in Africa, America and Europe, including the University of California. He has created repertoire for Moving Into Dance Mophatong, Jazzart Contemporary Dance Theatre, the South African Ballet Theatre and the Cape Academy of Performing Arts, among others.
Otto Nhlapo – Rehearsal Director
Otto Andile Nhlapo born and raised in Heidelberg (Ratanda), started out with the Juvenile Development Cultural Group in 2004, specialising in Zulu dance genres (Umkhomazi, Isizingili, Ushamen and Umzansi) and Pantsula dance. He has performed for dignitaries including President Jacob Zuma, former President Thabo Mbeki and FIFA President Joseph Sepp Blatter. In 2010 he joined MIDM Performing Arts Training Course and had an opportunity to study and perform in various events, he also worked with Robyn Orlin in her work titled Beauty, toured 11 cities in France. 2012 He won the pick of the stepping stones Dance Umbrella Festival Johannesburg with his solo work titled Dirty Hands, 2018 he attended Dance umbrella festival London with a production titled Via Kanana
In 2013 he joined Vuyani Dance Theatre as a junior company member and, after three months he was promoted to be a senior company member, where he then got an opportunity to tour with the company overseas. He has toured countries like Finland, Germany, Sweden, Holland, China and New York to name a few. He performed at the Metro FM annual awards 2013 to 2015, sharing the stage with various South African musicians. In 2014, he also performed with the company at the Presidential Inauguration.
He had the privilege to perform works of great choreographers in the country, works like Four Seasons, Full Moon, Kudu and Wake up choreographed by Gregory Vuyani Maqoma. In addition, he also performed works like Umnikelo, Dominion, Siva and 7Pillars choreographed by Luyanda Sidiya. He work with Via Katlehong in production titled Via Kanana, and also performed Transformations choreographed by Sylvia Glasser. He choreographed for the song Ndiredi by Simphiwe Dana on the production (Joys of Sharing) presented by Vuyani Dance Theatre, Featuring Wouter Kellerman and Simphiwe Dana, directed by Greg Maqoma.
In the year 2017 he created his first work with the company which was presented on the Vuyani week season 2017 work titled Interpellation. 2018 In a process of creating a double bill with Gregory Maqoma for the upcoming Vuyani week 30th November 2018.