Via Katlehong Dance

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  • dance
  • 68 Mins

The South African company Via Katlehong Dance tells the story of 1950s Sophiatown, a district of Johannesburg. The story is told as an explosive musical comedy expressed through the ultra-fast dynamic dance styles born in the streets of the neighbourhood. With now internationally-famous South African music such as hits by Dorothy Masuka or Miriam Makeba, the show presents couples dancing the tsaba-tsaba or the kofifi, the ancestor of pantsula. Accompanied by two jazz musicians, the dancers allow us to relive this strong period in African culture – the era of 'happy Africa'.

Sophiatown had been a mixed area, a melting pot of aesthetic and political ideas; but following the establishment of the policy of apartheid in 1955, the black population was moved out to Soweto and the district reserved exclusively for whites. Via Sophiatown is a way to resurrect the neighbourhood and its artistic fervour.

Originally Via Katlehong was more a neighbourhood association than a dance company, a way of diverting township youth from crime and violence in the last years of apartheid. The situation has now changed; and apartheid has gone. But Via Katlehong remains faithful to the idea that dance can be used to invent zones of freedom, to negotiate a place in society, and to find ways to reappropriate what might have been taken from the dancers and their audience.

Cast & Crew

(Director), (Choreographer), Damien Valette (Producer), (Musician), Darnk Dindie (CostumeDesign), (Choreographer), Nomathamsanqa Baba (Voice), (Director), GIE Grand Ouest (Producer)