Sifiso Khumalo and Yaseen Manuel in Maktub Picture: Val Adamson
"What is so special about this platform is that people are allowed to express themselves in their own way," said Nicolette Moses, the director of the annual Baxter Dance Festival, which is currently in full swing. 

At the helm since its inception 15 years ago, Moses is chuffed to see it come full circle, well almost.

"When I started the fest there was so little money and so we focused the four-day event on Cape Town for Capetonians. And now, 15 years down the line - we felt the need to celebrate dance makers remarkable talent here in the city - it's amazing that that we can fill an entire program with local talent."

Moses such the praises of many young dancers that have come through the ranks. 

"It's been an amazing experience to watch people grow - a golden rule is to watch the audience response. So many young artists launched their careers through the fest and here they can be nurtured in a way that perpetuates that kind of growth in  the arts - thus it's important to keep the platform going - and also as a profile for young choreographers."


Through movement and dance, the fest tackles a textured mix of personal stories; from questioning the current state of affairs in the world to  emotional issues of a personal nature to the inalienable right of  self-expression.

This year's format has been re-imagined and is jam-packed with more than 50 works. They range in style from contemporary to hip hop, classical ballet to flamenco, African, classical Indian and Latin American dance and there’s even belly dancing.

Asked about the urgency of expressing narratives on gender abuse and femicide given the current status quo, Moses confirmed that there are pieces on those tragic issues. But there's also shows on, for example, health care. mental health, societal mores, and the festival simply showcases the love of dance as well as the agility and technical savvy of movement.

"Through dance there's a crossover - for me it's very much about balance - about trying to maintain and reclaim the existing audience and also to try to encourage and grow a new audience.

Moses added that, as with any genre of performance, there's both the traditional and "known" genres but there's also performance art that is completely off the wall.

"You take away what you choose to - and not everything you see sits comfortably."

The 2019 Baxter Dance Festival is on at the Baxter Theatre until October 5. 
Booking at Webtickets, online at www.webtickets.co.za