Sunnyboy Motau aims to take Moving into Dance to greater heights in new role as artistic director

Close up of Sunnyboy Motau talking animatedly, wearing a red beanie.

Sunnyboy Motau. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 19, 2023

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Sunnyboy Motau’s appointment as the new artistic director for Moving into Dance (MID) marks a significant milestone in his career.

With his vision for stability, collaboration, community engagement and youth empowerment, Motau aims to take MID to greater heights while continuing the legacy of nurturing African leaders through dance.

Coming from humble beginnings in Alexandra, Motau expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to make a positive impact through his creative passion.

“This is a massive milestone for a young man from the streets of Alexandra with only the hope of making a positive impact in the community and the world at large through my creative passion,” said Motau.

“I am so grateful to this organisation that I love, to the many people that have supported me through my dance journey and now am looking to the future with confident expectation.”

Motau aims to foster new partnerships with different organisations while expanding MID's reach to various communities.

“I’m looking forward to creating work for the young dancers and conducting workshops and mentorship programmes, so we can keep the arts alive.

“I also want to reach out to many theatre houses around the country, to create sustainable partnerships for our young creatives to get the recognition they deserve within the art space.

“In the past, we used to work with a lot of communities, visiting local schools and introducing the young people to dance, sharing our teaching methodology, so we’re trying to get ourselves into that space again to find those hidden talents in our local communities.”

Motau's dedication to his role is evident from his participation in the American Express Global Leadership Academy by Common Purpose programme, where he learned about sustainability for non-profit organisations and how to maximise their impact.

“This a six-month programme and I’m excited to be part of it. So far, I’ve learnt the importance of ensuring non-profit organisations remain sustainable, which is one of the challenges many organisations struggle with.

“I’m also looking forward to learning how to make sure that we reach maximum capacity in terms of fieldwork, changing lives of the young people and also opening more opportunities.”

Nadia Virasamy, the CEO of MID, praised Motau's appointment.

“Sunnyboy is the embodiment of the Moving into Dance ethos. We have always been about nurturing African leaders through dance.

“We reminisce about the previous associate artistic directors, such as Vincent Mantsoe and Gregory Maqoma, groomed at the hands of MID’s founder, Sylvia Glasser, who have since transitioned to great things; and now we stand on the threshold of Sunnyboy Motau and launch his artistic directorship here at MID like many before him.”

Virasamy expressed her belief that Motau was destined for this position, having shown incredible artistic talent and administrative skills during his time with MID.

“He has embraced it with all the creativity and artistic passion he could muster and has proven himself as not just an incredible artist but a worthy administrator as well.

“This feels a long time in the making, but now that we are here we can only smile at a journey that has brought us this gift of leadership, loyalty and creativity.”

Motau’s journey with MID started in 2008 when he joined the organisation as a student.

Over the years, he has grown within the organisation, becoming a highly commissioned choreographer and sought-after facilitator nationally and internationally.

His talent and creativity as a choreographer were recognised in 2016 when he won the ImpAct Award for choreography.

Motau's achievements and potential were acknowledged by the “Mail and Guardian”, which included him in their list of the top 100 young people to watch.

MID has a significant history that dates back to 1978, a period marked by the oppressive and divisive policies of apartheid in South Africa. The organisation was founded by Sylvia Glasser as a response to this destructive policy of separateness.

Throughout its existence, MID has played a vital role in promoting dance as a means of artistic expression, personal growth, and social change.