Dancers spring into action in ‘Shall We Dance’

Samantha Melis from the Young Dancers Project is hard at work in rehearsals for the “Shall We Dance“ production. Picture: Supplied

Samantha Melis from the Young Dancers Project is hard at work in rehearsals for the “Shall We Dance“ production. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 13, 2023


One hundred amateur and professional dancers will take to the Playhouse Opera stage this weekend to dazzle audiences with a variety of dance styles.

In its 29th year, the spring production, “Shall We Dance”, presented by the South African Dance Teachers’ Association, will stage five performances over three days from September 15 - 17.

The showcase will spotlight Durban’s diverse dance scenes, featuring ballroom, Latin American, traditional and contemporary ballet, toe-tapping Irish, Bollywood, smooth tap, Spanish and some elegant show dancing.

Directed by dance stalwarts Caryl Cusens and Neville Letard, the extravaganza promises to be even better than the last.

“As soon as the one show finishes, we keep our eyes and ears open. We start looking for inspiration for the next. About six months before, we started planning and reaching out to other dance studios from Durban to partake; all who do different dance styles.

“Because we are from the South African Dance Teachers’ Association, we do mainly ballroom and Latin dancing. But in the show we incorporate Bhangra and Bollywood to ballet and ballroom to Spanish. It’s a big team effort,” said Cusens, who has been involved with the productions since inception.

She is particularly excited about, and believes the audience would also be, the two Bollywood dance performances.

“It is absolutely amazing to see how that has grown, from when we first had it in the show. There are about 17-18 dancers in the one group dancing on the stage at the same time, with such energy. It’s absolutely fantastic.”

Arya Jugernarth from Rudra Dance Theatre is hard at work in rehearsals for the spring show “Shall We Dance”. Picture: Val Adamson.

She said when people come to the show they get to see dance styles that they might not know about, because the producers were trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

For the dancers, who are not compensated, the platform is an opportunity to gain experience.

“For them, the experience is much greater than the pay-check. These young and energetic stars love to take part in the production. It builds their confidence and they give each performance 100%.”

This year’s guest artists are Cape Town’s Keanan McClune and Chantelle Le Roux , the undefeated South African Amateur, Ballroom and Latin Couple.

Joining them are a KZN couple who featured last year. Brian Booth and Londeka Mngadi will be dazzling audiences with a very vibrant style of Latin American.

Another KZN couple who have recently teamed up as partners are, Khulu Khumalo and Sithembile Ndwalane. The new pairing promise to show off beautiful classical ballroom dancing.

The cute factor in this year’s edition are future champions in the making,10-year-old Asiphile Nzimande and 9-year-old Slindile Ncobela. who will be performing as guest soloists.

Singing teacher Marion Loudon will host the evening once again and have the crowd on their feet with two numbers accompanied by young dancers from Glenwood Boys High School and Durban Girls’ High School.

“We really would love if those who come to the show can spread the word. We would like to see the audience fill up the venue just like they did prior to the pandemic.

“Putting on a production takes a lot of time and effort. Costs run into a hundred thousand. Next year is our 30th (anniversary) and we want to go big or go home, so we are hoping that Durbanites will support us,” concluded Cusens.

The show times for “Shall We Dance” are Friday at 7pm, Saturday at 1pm and 5pm and Sunday at 11am and 3pm. Ticket prices vary from R120 to R180.

Bookings can be made through Webtickets.

“Life In Harmony”

Prepare to be swept away by the harmonious magic of “Life In Harmony”, bringing together the vocal talents of Tory Du Plessis, Tammy Saville and Marion Loudon.

Journey through the world of three-part harmony singing, accompanied by the inimitable Evan Roberts on piano.

Directed by the award-winning Steven Stead, their repertoire spans from tender ballads that tug the heartstrings to high energy songs that will set your toes tapping.

There's a song for every season of life, and you're invited to sing along to the music of The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Andrew Sisters, Queen, The Bee Gees, Alicia Keyes and Adele among others.

When: September 13 - 15.

Where: Rhumbelow Theatre, 42 Cunningham Road, Umbilo.

Cost: R200 via Computicket.

“So I Wrote that Musical”

Marc Lottering will be in Durban for a once-off performance of his brand new stand-up comedy show. Lottering has recently come out with his third-hit musical musical, “Aunty Merle Things Get Real”, which was seen by more than 40 000 people.

Marc Lottering. Picture: Instagram

In his new solo stand-up show, Lottering shares hilarious stories as he reflects on the fascinating process of moving between the worlds of stand-up comedy and musicals.

And, as is to be expected, Lottering will weave in his views on the madness of current South African life.

When: September 23.

Where: Sneddon Theatre.

Cost: R190 via Computicket.