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Friday, December 26, 2008


Umoja’s gumboot dancers to take US dance show by storm

Twelve performers from the smash-hit South African musical Umoja have jetted off to the United States to take part in a new dance-themed reality television show titled Dance Stars of the World.

This exciting new television series, featuring professional dancers from eight countries, has been dubbed “the Olympics of the dance world”. It will be screened on the USA’s NBC channel from January, 2009.

Top South African dancers touched down in Los Angeles to join their fleet-footed counterparts from China, Ireland, Australia, the USA, Argentina, India and Russia in a bid to assert their global supremacy in the dance arena.

The Umoja dancers will be representing South Africa in the group dance section, performing their renowned gumboot dance.

Umoja – The Spirit of Togetherness, one of South Africa’s longest-running and most highly acclaimed original musicals, is the resident production at the revamped Victory Theatre in Houghton Estate. After much international touring and critical acclaim, the selection of a dozen top cast members to take part in Dance Stars of the World programme signals yet another feather in the show’s already decorated cap.

The television series is the brainchild of Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe, the creators and producers of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. It will be hosted by Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley and actress Susie Castillo.

Each of the selected countries is sending a team of skilled dancers to participate in the solo, duet/pas de deux and group categories, in addition to coaches and judges. Over the course of the competition, the participants will be competing in various styles of dance in a bid to avoid elimination, in the run-up to the nail-biting finale.

“This is a huge opportunity for South Africa and for the world to see our amazing Umoja troupe members dance on an international platform,” says Anne Power, General Manager of the Victory Theatre. “We will be rooting for our boys and are confident that they’ll be flying the South African flag high in America – while thrilling viewers with their explosive gumboot dance moves.”

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