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Interrogating the synthesis of African traditional rituals and spirituality in contemporary South African dance: critical reflections on the dance work of Vincent Mantsoe, Moeketsi Koena, and my own work.

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This part dissertation explores the synthesis of selected, black (AmaZulu and Sotho) South African traditional rituals and spirituality, and the way they are negotiated and manifest in selected contemporary South African dance. This will be effected by reflecting firstly, on an examination and analysis of the dance work of South Africa’s Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe (KonKoriti- JOMBA! 2016) and Moeketsi Koena (Point of View-New Dance 2004). Both these choreographers enjoy both national and international reputations for their unique (and differing) fusion of South African cultural traditional practice and contemporary dance practice. I then move on to investigate how both Mantsoe and Koena have influenced and informed my own rehearsal style and choreographic processes, particularly with reference to the creation of Alive Kids (2016/17) - a dance performance work I created in 2016 and then re-worked in 2017 for the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival at the KZN Gallery (August 2017). I will offer a detailed self-reflection and autoethnographic interrogation of my own rehearsal and creative process which describes and analyses, how-in this work-I began to push my own understanding of traditional Black South African culture and its links to ritual, spirituality- and contemporary identity. Finally I offer an autoethnographic study within what Timothy Rice refers to as “subject centred research” (2017:139). In investigating my own praxis and the influences and connections to South African dance makers such as Mantsoe and Koena, I have interrogated my own multifaceted Black identity as a dance maker and choreographer and how my traversing cultural and traditional practices engages with the growing lexicon of critical dance making in South Africa.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.