Gregory Vuyani Maqoma. Picture: Instagram
Gregory Vuyani Maqoma. Picture: Instagram

8 SA dancers and choreographers making waves globally

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Apr 29, 2021

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To mark International Dance Day, a global celebration of dance, we pay homage to some South African dancers, choreographers and dance enthusiasts who have made waves internationally.

This global event takes place every year on April 29, which is the anniversary of the birth of Jean-Georges Noverre, the creator of modern ballet.

Motsi Mabuse

Motsi Mabuse is a South African ballroom dancer who now lives in Germany.

She appeared on “Let's Dance”, the German version of “Strictly Come Dancing”, originally appearing as a professional dancer but later as a judge on the show.

In 2019, Mabuse replaced Darcey Bussell as a judge in the 17th series of “Strictly Come Dancing”.

Otlile "Oti" Mabuse

Otli and Motsi Mabuse are siblings who discovered their passion for dance at an early age.

Now the sisters are taking the world by storm.

Otlile Mabuse is a South African dancer and Latin American champion now based in the UK.

She took part in the German series “Let's Dance” both as a professional dancer and as a judge. She was also a participant in Britain's “Strictly Come Dancing”.

Mabuse was named the Dance Captain on “The Greatest Dancer”.

This year she sits as a panellist on “The Masked Dancer”.

Lindi Mlaba

South African-born dancer Lindi Mlaba has been dazzling on stages across the US, Europe and Germany since her move 2009.

Mlaba has worked with many international artists including Burna Boy, Jay Z, Daddy Yankee, Jeremih, Dawn Richard from Danity Kane, Sampa the Great, Serani and Soaky Siren.

Her recent accolades include her feature in Beyoncé’s “Black Is King”.

Teboho ‘Tebza’ Diphehlo

Pantsula king and dance teacher Teboho “Tebza” Diphehlo is at the forefront of the Pantsula dance movement and has his own dance school in Naledi, Soweto.

Diphehlo also hosts online classes, teaching dance students in Sweden and the rest of the world.

His accolades include winning the inaugural South African leg of “Red Bull Dance Your Style” in 2018, which earned him a place at the World Final in 2019 in Paris.

Lulu Mlangeni

Lulu Mlangeni is a dancer, teacher, choreographer based in Johannesburg.

She is also recipient of the Standard Bank Artist Award Winner in Dance for 2020.

Over the years, Mlangeni performed around the globe in countries such as Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Switzerland, Brazil, France, Mozambique, Botswana, Mexico, Russia, the USA, Germany, Madagascar and Ireland. She is an award winner for The Most Outstanding Female Dancer 2007 in Contemporary Style for the Dance Umbrella Festival.

She was commissioned to stage her first solo work piece for the Dance Umbrella Festival in Johannesburg in 2011.

Kitty Phetla

Kitty Phetla is a celebrated South African ballet dancer. She was only 9 years old when she joined the Ballet Theatre Afrikan.

In 2002 she joined the Joburg Ballet.

In 2012, Phetla made history when she became the first black ballerina to perform “The Dying Swan” in Russia.

She later performed for Nelson Mandela.

She also performed for the royal family of the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

In 2019 she was named Standard Bank Youth Award winner.

Dada Masilo

Dada Masilo, internationally acclaimed choreographer, is known for her unique and innovative interpretations of classical ballets.

Her works deal with contemporary topics, such as the stigma and social rejection around HIV/Aids, domestic violence, discrimination, inequality, identity and homosexuality.

Her dancer pieces are performed to a mix of African and Western music and sound.

Gregory Vuyani Maqoma

Gregory Maqoma has cemented his name in the dance space locally and abroad. Maqoma has become known as an acclaimed dancer, choreographer, teacher, director and scriptwriter.

He founded the Vuyani Dance Theatre in 1999 while he had a scholarship with the Performing Arts Research and Training School in Belgium under Anna Theresa de Keersmaeker.

Maqoma has taught and presented productions in Europe, West Africa, Mexico and the USA, and he has been behind a number of festivals in South Africa and the Netherlands.

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