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Friday, April 1, 2016


(Phakama Dance Theatre in performance)

Phakama Dance Theatre has emerged as the newest dance company on the block, promising great things to come for lovers of dance in South Africa!

The new company has emerged as the successor to the Playhouse Dance Residency (PDR), which was started by The Playhouse Company in 2012. Initially brought together in response to the scarcity of funding, training and facilities for theatre practitioners, the aim of the PDR was to assist developing artists from different dance cultures to eventually form their own company. The dancers have received weekly training in ballet, contemporary dance, Zulu, tap dance, kathak, flamenco, training for core strength, business skills such as proposal writing, company management, budgeting, how to register and manage a company, and so forth, as well as stage and in technical skills such as sound, lighting and production/stage management, and in arts administration, including budgeting, artistic contracts and business administration.

As a result, The Playhouse Company has assisted the dancers to form their own company, Phakama (which means ‘rising’ in English) Dance Theatre, and become entrepreneurs.

“The Playhouse Company is very proud to be able to give Phakama Dance Theatre wings to fly, so to speak, but also to provide the roots that will provide stability and support for this young company,” said Playhouse Company CEO and Artistic Director, Linda Bukhosini.

“There is much for this fledgling company to accomplish, and we are extremely excited about the possibilities and projects that are being developed by these young dancers. The Playhouse Company is affording these talented, extremely well-trained dancers the opportunity to perform in our annual seasons such as our New Stages season in May, our South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF) in August, and our festive season productions. Apart from these professional performance opportunities, The Playhouse Company is also providing them with venues in which to teach and rehearse, as well as marketing assistance, technical backing and various other forms of support,” she continued.

Phakama Dance Theatre, a multi-cultural, non-profit company based at The Playhouse Company, has been established by the dancers in line with the hopes and dreams of the late Zinhle Gumede, a founding member of the company. The three new Directors of Phakama Dance Theatre are Leagan Peffer (CEO), Sandile Mkhize (Artistic Director), and Nkanyiso Kunene (Communications Director).

Since Phakama Dance Theatre’s inception, it has already won the Standard Bank Ovation Award and the Encore Award at the 2015/6 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown for its piece If the World Was Listening.

With advice and assistance from The Playhouse Company, Phakama Dance Theatre is currently running various development programmes which include an after-school dance programme where professional dancers go into impoverished communities to teach dance to learners at disadvantaged schools. Their I Care To Dream programme is a project designed to use dance to assist in the rehabilitation of street children and their new Just Dance project that teaches dance to physically disabled children will grow and expand in 2016. The Saturday morning dance academy takes place at the Playhouse complex and teaches dance for people from the age of three upwards.

Several other projects are on the cards for the company, including a dance-related skills-development programme for young South African women from disadvantaged communities.

The company recently performed I AM, a professional environmental education production for primary schools choreographed by Sandile Mkhize which toured to schools around KwaZulu-Natal and at the Playhouse Loft Theatre.

Anyone interested in attending dance classes at the Playhouse or in having Phakama Dance Theatre visit their disadvantaged school, is asked to contact e-mail or phone 060 838 1991.

For further information phone call Leagan on 079 876 5667 or Nkanyiso on 079 191 0301.