DECEMBER 2008

•   Company Profile
         Description of the Company
         Target Groups
         Main Services

•   Achievements
          Major Artistic Achievements
          Successful Recent Partnerships with Government, Business and
          Select Media Quotes

•   Artistic Programme
            Education and Training

•   On request
       Images, DVD’s of performances, Media Reviews/Articles
       Proof of Company Registration
       Tax Clearance Certificate


Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre (SSDT) is a professional dance theatre company that
emerged from a training and development programme for Black dancers with no access
to training opportunities, initiated by The Playhouse Company in Durban in 1994. ‘Siwela
Sonke’ in isiZulu translates as ‘crossing over to a new place altogether’.

The aims of the original programme were

   •   To provide a holistic dance education based on the natural movement and
       anatomy of the body
   •   To incorporate the major African dance traditions of the region
   •   To create a new contemporary and indigenous dance language that would be
       relevant to the educational and social needs of KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa
   •   To stimulate, and support new, innovative directions of performance art in the

Jay Pather and Alfred Hinkel of Jazzart Dance Theatre devised the original curriculum,
and the first programme with 18 students was an overwhelming success. In July 1995,
ten dancers were offered full-time salaries to form a company that served as a
performance vehicle for the training programme, and in 1996 Jay Pather was appointed
Artistic Director of Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre.

Still under the wing of the Playhouse Company from 1996 to 1998, the influence and
scope of SSDT expanded quickly. Pather and the company vigorously pursued their
mission statement, contributing to dance education, development and performance on
local, national and international levels. They were invited to perform at the National Arts
Festival in Grahamstown, the Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg, the Macufe Festival in
Taung, at the opening of the International Writers Festival and the Interface Festival in
London. The Indian Government supported a hugely successful tour of India and Sri

Lanka, and it became clear that Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre was fast establishing a
reputation as a serious proponent of new South African dance.

In 1996 The Mail and Guardian named the company as one of the "Hot 100" South
Africans (alongside then Deputy President Thabo Mbeki), and The Star proposed them
as the best new dance company of that year.

Vita Awards were received by company members in the categories of Best
Choreography, Best Female Dancer and Most Promising Male Dancer, as well as
nominations for Best Male Dancer.

In 1997 the Durban Metro Mayor’s Award for Achievement was given to the SSDT, in
recognition of their commitment and contribution to the local community.

In 1999, the Playhouse Company retrenched SSDT. The Company re-formed itself as a
Section 21 non-profit Company. Directors of the Board include prominent members of
the public health service, community development specialists as well as cultural
practitioners. The Company began to canvas for its own survival and developed a
concerted plan to pursue its original mission statement while maintaining financial

The Company continued to produce new work, often commissioned by such national
festivals as the Dance Umbrella and the National Arts Festival. Added to its artistic and
development programmes, the Company consciously began to develop a Public
Services profile: performing at large scale Conferences and Events in order to develop
more partnerships for its Education and Development work. So started a relationship
with such bodies as the Royal Netherlands Embassy who today contributes to the
Company's Development Programme.

In 2001 the Company was one of the companies in the country identified to be of
national importance by the Minister of Arts and Culture and the National Arts Council
who has contributed to part of the Company’s budget for two terms of three years. This
funding cycle comes to an end this year.

In 2003 the Dance Umbrella and the National Arts Festival commissioned the Company.

In 2004 the Company developed an international and national profile evidenced by the

   •   Invited to open The World Social Forum in India,
   •   The Development Programme (12 children) was invited to represent South Africa
       at the World Children's Festival in Holland
   •   The company was invited to be part of 'Season South Africa' in New York and
       performed at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and the Museum for African
   •   The company was commissioned to create a new work for the opening of the
       second Brett Kebble Art Awards at which Jay Pather won a Major Award out of
       1000 works for the installation performance 'Kitchen'
   •   Senior Dancer, Neliswa Rushualang scooped the coveted 'Dancer of the Year'
       Award at the Dance Link Awards for Dance and Choreography
   •   The company was commissioned to present 'The beautiful ones must be born' at
       Constitution Hill as part of the FNB Dance Umbrella.

   In 2005 the company started a series of in-association partnership projects with the
   Playhouse Company. These were fostered largely to develop choreographic talent
   within the company. Up to now choreography and direction had largely been in the
   hands of Jay Pather. This move, featured in the Playhouse’s New Stages series
   continues all the way through 2008 and has been instrumental in shifting the scope
   of the company.

   Lovebytes featured choreography by Simpiwe Magazi, Ntombi Gasa, Eric Shabalala
   and Neliswa Rushualang. And in subsequent years, Family and I, and Twisted
   Bones have featured new works by Gasa, Shabalala and Rushualang.

   Rushualang began developing a range of new work, commissioned by institutions
   such as the Durban Art Gallery and the Durban University of Technology. Gasa
   developed a three- year collaborative relationship with Cape Town based
   performance artist, Julia Raynham and Shabalala began to take on more curatorial
   and directing roles such as Red Eye for the Durban Art Gallery and projects for the
   Thekwini Municipality.

   Over these years (2005-2008), this broad creative profile was boosted by several
   international and national commissions (Dance Umbrella, Johannesburg,
   performances in Oman and forthcoming ones in Denmark are examples).

   In 2006 the company embarked on an intensive Professional Training programme.
   The company had up to then conducted several education and training projects
   throughout Kwa Zulu Natal over six years (described in detail elsewhere in the
   document). There were several highly talented and skilled young adults that had

   Through a thorough and equitable selection process, eight young dancers were
   selected and put through a full time professional training programme.
   In 2008, at the conclusion of the training programme seven of the graduates were
   offered part time contracts with the company. Their work has enhanced the
   professionalism and energy of the company multifold.

   The company currently has 9 full time dancers while collaborating with10 ad hoc
   dancers on a regular basis.

Description of the Business
The Siwela Sonke Dance studio is situated at 103 Salbany, 1st Floor, 50 Albany Grove,
Central Durban.

We are a registered non-profit organization (Registration Certificate produced on
request). Income is generated through commissions and honoraria, local and
international. All commissions cover the expenses of performances. The core of these
performances is their innovation, their uniqueness and their creative input into the
cultural lives of people. The company has taken into cognizance that there is not a very
developed culture of theatre going in South Africa given historical and economic
imbalances. The Company nevertheless seeks to make cultural products available to a
wide range of the public by actively promoting works in public spaces where there is free

access or when the work is commissioned by a Public Services organization where the
motive is not one of profit.

As mentioned previously in our mission statement, we are also presently making
significant contributions in terms of dance education, development and performances on
local, national and international levels. The company has set up a "Reachout
Development" programme that comprises of seven-satellite dance training centres
scattered between Kwa Mashu and Kwa Machi near Port Shepstone. Collectively, these
centres host 167 children who receive regular dance instruction from our three teachers.

The company continues to produce new work under the close direction of Professor Jay
Pather, often commissioned by such national festivals as the Dance Umbrella and the
National Arts Festival.

List of Target Groups

For performances we take on a cross section of dancers directly proportionate to the
demographics of the country, whose skills are in:
   • Contemporary African Dance
   • Traditional African Dance
   • Contemporary Modern Dance
   • Traditional Indian Dance
   • Classical Ballet

Our target audiences are:
   • The general public
   • Youth, underprivileged communities, women
   • People who have not been exposed to dance before
   • Conference delegates
   • An international audience

In the education, community development and training programmes:

   •   Children from underprivileged backgrounds
   •   Rural areas.
   •   Black Townships
   •   Primary and Secondary school learners
   •   Technikon and University drama students.

List of Main Services
We aim to create awareness of art and culture to the general public by:
  • Fostering innovation in dance theatre
  • Tell the stories of people whose stories have not been told
  • Creating works that develop new South African Dance Language
  • Create Intercultural performances that break historical barriers
  • Develop indigenous, African dances
  • Create interdisciplinary collaboration with visual and other performing art forms
  • Create performances in collaboration with city management structures and

   •   Having performances on the street.
   •   Having performances at theatres such as the Playhouse, the City Hall, Art
       Galleries and various other theatres
   •   Performing at various festivals

Provide a network for the employment of dancers also in other capacities and with other

The company has established a "Reachout Development" programme and here we
   • Dance Education
   • Youth Development
   • Training

The company also provides entertainment to conferences and companies by:
   • Having performances at events such as opening ceremonies, etc.
   • Performing at local and international conferences.
   • Performing at events hosted by local government.
   • Performing at Functions hosted by Embassies and Consulates


Director: Jay Pather
Resident Choreographer: Neliswa Rushualang
Head of Community Development: Ntombi Gasa
Administrator: Mandisa Shabangu
Studio Maintenance: Thobeka Zulu
Auditors: CPG Auditors, Davenport Road, Glenwood



   •   World Social Forum, India
   •   ITs Festival, Amsterdam
   •   Pan Projects’ Intercultural Festival, London
   •   Season South Africa, Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and Museum for African
       Art, New York
   •   World Children's Festival, Belgium and Holland
   •   Festival of Dhow Countries, Zanzibar
   •   South African Embassy, Muscat, Oman
   •   Indian High Commissioner and Sonia Gandhi, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedebad,
       Chennai, India
   •   French Cultural Ministry, Lillie, France
   •   Denmark International Theatre, Copenhagen


   •   Royal Netherlands Embassy
   •   The British Council
   •   The Indian Embassy
   •   The Italian Consulate
   •   Pro Helvetia


National Arts Council
National Arts Festival (Grahamstown)
FNB Dance Umbrella (Johannesburg)


Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience (works by Jay Pather)
Jomba! New Choreography Commissions (other)
   • Ntombi Gasa
   • Neliswa Rushualang
   • Siyanda Duma
   • Eric Shabalala
Durban Municipality
Durban Art Gallery
KwaZulu Natal Society for the Arts Gallery

Recent Awards

Brett Kebble Major Art Award 2004: Jay Pather
KZN DanceLink Dancer of the Year Award 2004: Neliswa Rushualang
KZN DanceLink Dancer of the Year Award 2005: Siyanda Duma
KZN Dance Link Best Newcomer (Male) Award 2005: Mxolisi Nkomonde
KZN Dance Link Best Newcomer (Female) Award 2005: Rhia Ryan
Outstanding Contribution in Arts and Humanities Award 2005, University of KwaZulu
Natal: Jay Pather
FNB Vita Awards for Choreography: Jay Pather
FNB Vita Awards for Best Dancer: Ntombi Gasa
Mayor's Achievement Award: Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre
Abalongi Award for contribution to dance in Kwa Zulu Natal, presented by KZN
DanceLink presented jointly to Ntombi Gasa and Neliswa Rushualang
Tunkie Award presented at the FNB Dance Umbrella 2007 for Leadership in Dance: Jay


Ethekwini Municipality
Royal Netherlands Embassy
Pro Helvetia
The British Council
National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund
Zanzibar International Film and Performance Festival
Institute for Cultural Relations and The South African High Commission, India
Spier Arts Trust
Playhouse Company
Durban Art Gallery
Centre for Creative Arts, University of Natal
World Children's Festival, Amsterdam
KwaZulu Natal Society for the Arts
Pan Projects, London
Museum for African Art, New York
Italian Embassy
Videovision Entertainment
Brett Kebble Art Awards
Planet Junior Productions
Durban Chamber of Commerce
Johannesburg Art Gallery
National Ports Authority
South Africa Democratic Teachers Union.
Transnet Ports Authority

Select Quotes from the Media

"Just as our Hlabisa weavers create beautiful baskets from the dark and the light palm
fronds from the Kwa Zulu Natal coast, Pather and the Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre
know how to weave the light and the dark in dance theatre….this is why Siwela Sonke
Dance Theatre is such an incredible success" Mail and Guardian

"Siwela Sonke in performance and choreography exudes a textured energy alive with
individuality and an emerging cross cultural aesthetic” The Star

"Lords of the Dance! The Daily News

"One of the leading lights in the South African contemporary dance scene” Mail and

"Siwela Sonke's performance process is that of a negotiated sharing to create new inter-
cultural dance languages, and the company is now dancing with a level of technical
ability that leaves one awestruck" The Natal Mercury

"Acclaimed choreographer Pather has taken South Africa's layered landscapes and
mindscapes to create the superbly satisfying and insanely lyrical South African interior
dance dialogue we've been waiting for. Pather slowly unfolds a distinctly South African
narrative with sophistication and an unselfconscious interplay of dance forms from Zulu
and Xhosa dance, kathak, bharatha natyam, oddissi, contemporary and classical ballet.
It works beautifully." The Independent on Saturday

"Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre and its artistic director, Jay Pather, have proved that they
make a formidable and ground-breaking dance company. With a successful tour to
Europe, sell out performances at the Grahamstown Festival and several FNB Vita
Awards under its belt, Siwela has made Durban proud to have a dance company of such
international stature." The Natal Mercury

"The Siwela Sonke company itself represents several South African cultural strands
bound together by a passion to discover our hidden histories and camouflaged rhythms"
The Star

"Intimate, energetic, original….Boundaries are extended, feelings are probed, bodies are
tested" The Sunday Tribune

"Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre is on the edge of a dance paradigm shift." The Natal

"Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre's Republic flaunted the intellectual and conceptual
underpinnings of contemporary African dance. It also showcased Durban dance's
choreographic diversity, with its legacy of developmental and artistic dynamism….Pather
describes his role in this empowering exercise as an instigator. This visionary mentor
incited this group of Kwa Zulu Natal artists to map, connect and distill the gritty sights,
sounds and subliminal imagery of eThekwini into an intelligently edgy, emotionally raw,
physically charged social portrait, conceptual manna from streetwise heaven." The
Sunday Independent

MAIN FEATURES with examples of relevant productions

   • Performances of National Importance
Republic, Kitchen (Cape Town), Duets in the Diaspora (Johannesburg), South African
Siddhartha, CityScapes (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban), Home (Cape Town,
Durban), Shifting Spaces Tilting Time, Ahimsa Ubuntu; The Beautiful Ones Must be
Born (Johannesburg, Durban)
   • Appearances on National Platforms and Conferences
National Arts Festival, Dance Umbrella, Jomba Festival, International Writers' Festival,
Brett Kebble Art Awards, FAO Conference of Ministers from African States, SANGA
Festival of African Choreography, Madagascar, Commonwealth Heads of State Gala,

World Economic Forum, International HIV AIDS Conference, World Cup Soccer Bid,
Tourism Indaba, Macufe Festival, World Social Forum, Festival of Dhow Countries,
    • Performances of International Interest
From Before (New York), Imbizo (Zanzibar), Jomba Junior (The Netherlands), Ahimsa-
Ubuntu (India) Siwela Sonke Season (London); Laws of Recall (Madagascar)
    • New/Cutting Edge Dance Theatre Work
Blue Point; Republic; First Look, then step, then dance madly; Manchild, CityScapes;
NightScapes; Home
    • Development of young choreographers
Choreography Workshops, Jomba Fringe Festival, Republic, Paradise, Edge, LoveBytes
    • Indigenous and contemporary African dance
Looking Back, 10 Up! 10 years of the rhythms of freedom, African Echo, Imbizo,
Heritage, The Power of One
    • Inter cultural performances
Intersecting Trade Routes, Republic, Beautiful Ones Must be Born, Duets in the
Diaspora; Ahimsa Ubuntu; A South African Siddhartha
    • Interdisciplinary performance (collaboration with other art forms)
Hostel, Hotel, Republic, Blue Point, Kitchen, Breathing Cycles, CityScapes, Home
    • Focus on Development Projects
Reachout Classes in Kwa Machai, Kwa Mashu, Umlazi, Cato Manor and Clermont
Schools and Community Hall Tour with danceXplosion
Youthdance Force performances; Lift Off When Hot is Not 10 Up! Rhythms of Freedom
    • Taking work to theatres as well as to public spaces
CityScapes, NightScapes, Red Eye, Community Hall Tour, Home, Beautiful Ones must
be born
    • Building new audiences
Performances on the street; At the beach; Lunch hour in front of City Hall; Invitations to
Schools for public performances; Lecture Demonstration at Universities and Colleges;
Schools Tour (Primary and Secondary Schools), Performances at Thibault Square, Sea
Point Promenade


   •   The development of dance literacy amongst under privileged children,
   •   The development of choreographic literacy and potential amongst new
       choreographers and performance artists,
   •   The development of audiences especially youth audiences through the schools
       performance programme
   •   And in general to develop an awareness of the power of the arts and dance
       training in particular through public performances

These aims are made manifest in Reachout Teaching Programme:

   •   Reachout Teaching
Curriculum: The teaching comprises a range of arts education curricula with dance
education, specifically creative movement being the major point of focus.
Dance Styles: Creative movement and composition; African contemporary, traditional
indlamu, iscathamiya, gumboot, funk, urban dances such as kwaito, pantsula, kwasa-
kwasa. Rhythm Workshops; Classical Ballet, Alexander technique, Hip Hop and Jazz
Development of a professional work ethic and discipline; Drama - storytelling; scenes;
debates; poetry. Fine Art - drawing, craft, molding, and collages based on found objects

       1.   Igugu Labasha Rural Development Project in Kwa Machai, 21 children
       2.   Shwibeka Dance Ensemble in “K” Section, Kwa Mashu 18 children
       3.   Bright Sparks Youth Dancers, “K” Section, Umlazi 8 children
       4.   Christianeberger Lower Primary, Indunduma, Claremont 52 children
       5.   Cato Manor Junior Dance Programme, Cato Manor 18 children
       6.   St Thomas Home for Children affected by HIV AIDS 13 children

   •   Reachout Children's Production
This is a culminating production that brings all the different participants together on one
stage. These performances feature the work done by these various projects. The
programme takes place during December and comprises of matinee performances
making it possible for the performances to be enjoyed by young people.


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