Vuyolwethu Nompetsheni. Picture: Mark Wessels
Eleven trainees from the award-winning contemporary dance theatre company Jazzart, have graduated and completed their three-year course. 

To celebrate they are staging Archives, at the Artscape Theatre . The production is a compilation of three works, choreographed by three generations of Jazzart artistic directors - Sifiso Kweyama, Jacqueline Manyaapelo, and Alfred Hinkel. The works represent the evolution of this NPO, looking at its legacy and offering a glimpse of the exciting future, and the South African contemporary dance scene as a whole. 

Graduating dancer Vuyolwethu Asanda Nompetsheni, 19, from Guguletu, tells us more about herself:

What makes you get up in the morning?

The knowing that conditions at home are not great and in order for that to change, I need to go and work for a better tomorrow. My career in dance makes it possible for me to express myself emotionally and challenge myself physically and mentally which is not possible for all career choices.

Why dance?

It’s the one place I feel welcome, can be myself and be with people that face bigger problems than me.  Together we do not let our problems stand in our way.

I believe that moving is in me, it was a choice that came naturally.

Graduating dancer Vuyolwethu Asanda Nompetsheni.

Your greatest inspiration or leading lights?

The greatest inspiration is my relationship with God, music and nature. 

What has been the best thing you have learnt during your training?

Learning about my body is the best thing about my training and understanding how to use it to execute the movement required. For example, I struggled to do a shoulder stand for many years and now I can.  Training made it possible.

If you had to choose your best performance moment what would it be?

My best performance moment was when I performed my solo and duet with Mandisi Ncgwayi at the Goodhope Castle on August 9 last year. The event was called We will Not be Silenced.  Mothers who had lost their children (child victims of violence) like Courtney Pieters parents were in the audience.  I was the voice for those parents on that day and I could relate to their story through dance.  

The duet we performed was the story of those who were forcibly removed from District Six.  The previous residents were also in the audience.

Your greatest advice to someone starting off as a young dancer?

Firstly, they must not expect it to be easy. If they work hard for themselves and not to impress others, they will find that the rewards are more satisfying.

Young dancers should enjoy the ride and not the destination.

How do you bring your life as a born free into your work?

My life and stories that I portray are mainly influenced by the environment, what is happening in the country and my life.  Here at Jazzart dance theatre, we aim to tell these stories, stories that are current. This has always been Jazzart’s objective even in the years of apartheid.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

My goal is to be part of a professional dance company and at the same time I would like to give back to dance organisations where I started off and planted the seed.  I would like teach dance and transfer other skills that I would have picked up in the next nine years.

* Archives will be presented in the Artscape Theatre on Friday, June 22, at 7.30 pm  and on Saturday, June 23, at 3 pm and  7.30pm. Tickets cost R100 for adults, R50 for scholars or the season special of R150 for 2 tickets. Tickets are available at Computicket 0861 915 8000 or Proceeds from ticket sales and support go towards expanding Jazzart’s training programme and into establishing further outreach partnerships.