national Arts Festival Banner

Sunday, September 10, 2017


(Pic by Val Adamson)

A fast moving and non-stop celebration of the enchanting art of dance. (Review by Keith Millar

Shall We Dance? Well that invitation was accepted by hundreds of Durbanites who filled the Playhouse Opera Theatre to capacity as they turned out for the opening night of this annual dance extravaganza presented by the South African Dance Teachers association.

It is a glittering affair with plenty of tinsel, glitter sequins, colourful lights and a marvellous soundtrack as Durban’s leading dance academies showcase the cream of their talent in a fast moving and non-stop celebration of the enchanting art of dance.

To make the occasion even more festive, Shall We Dance celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. This makes it one of the longest-running and most popular shows in the country. It has been produced and directed since its inception by veteran Durban dance personalities Caryl Cusens and Neville Letard. A fantastic achievement.

There are over 100 dancers, from the age of eight and upwards, taking part in this fabulous extravaganza. Included are several guest professional artists who add an extra dimension to the proceedings.

Along with the expected Ballroom and Latin American there is a wide variety of dance styles on display, including Tap, Celtic, Belly-Dancing, Modern, Flamenco, Line-Dance, Disco and even a bit of Ballet.

Talking of ballet, a highlight of the evening is when two of the professional male dancers perform a comedy ballet routine covered only by white bath towels. Their buff bodies gave several of the ladies in the audience, both young and old, the vapours!.

Guest stars, South African Ballroom Dancing champions, Penwell Nhlapo and Lindelwa Mankangeni, are a striking couple. They showed exquisite skill and grace during their beautiful routines.

Back again this year is the popular Ryan Hammond along with a new partner, Angelique Allison. There is certainly a chemistry between these two on the dance floor as they dazzled with several Latin American routines. They are, in fact, the current South African Latin Professional Champions. Hammond also shows charm and communication skills as he leads the audience in a few dance moves as the finale of the show.

The highlight of the show for me was the Exhibition dancing of Gerhard Van Rooyen and Micheline Marmol. Their Exhibition dances are absolutely breathtaking. They display enormous synergy along with great strength, dexterity and flair as they display their death defying lifts and spins and acrobatic skills. Their performance alone is worth a visit to this show.

The amateur performers in this production do not let themselves down. Every one of them gives their all, and they can be justifiably proud of their contribution to a very special, feel-good, occasion.

Shall We Dance has become a Durban institution - and long may that last. It is a glittering highlight on Durban’s entertainment calendar. The show runs at the Playhouse until September 17. Tickets can be booked at Computicket: or 0861 915 8000. – Keith Millar