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DURBAN DANCERS WIN (article first published : 2000-07-30)

Some 35 dancers from all over KZN took part in a five-day workshop process with two of the UK’s top dance artists Sue MacLennan and Veronica Lewis as part of the Britain Dancing With Durban season arranged by the British Council from July to September.

The dancers were auditioned at Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Company’s studio yesterday and two members of the group have been awarded scholarships to study at the London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS). They are Mbongiseni Patrick Buthelezi (20) from Ulundi, a dancer with the Flatfoot Dance Company, and Sandile Mbili (22) from the Durban-based Siwela Sonke Dance Company who leave in September to study for one year under the directorship of Veronica Lewis MBE. The project has been made possible by the kind sponsorship of Rio Tinto in association with Richard's Bay Minerals.

Rio Tinto is one of the world's leading mine companies which has had a long association with South Africa through its flourishing business in Phalaborwa and Richards Bay. The Company has provided assistance to the LCDS over a number of years and the dance scholarship collaboration with Richards Bay Minerals is a natural extension of this commitment. Rio Tinto believes in nurturing the strong tradition of community-based dance in South Africa.

Last year’s Rio Tinto /Palabora Mining company scholarship recipient, Reginald Danster from Soweto, returns in August having completed his course at LCDS and it is expected that he will develop his work back in Johannesburg at the Dance Factory.

The British Council aims through the Britain Dancing with Durban project to support development of dance education, training and professional practice in South Africa by nurturing collaboration between South African and UK artists and organisations.

"I have been struck by the openness, vitality and generosity of the dancers during this week’s workshop process." reported Veronica Lewis, Director of LCDS. "It has been extraordinary to see dancers from such a huge range of backgrounds working together and to watch them share their different dance styles."

Sue MacLennan, lecturer in choreography at the LCDS said of her experience "I am very impressed that in only four afternoons we have created a rich and sophisticated 12 minute choreography which I would be proud to show in any theatre in the world."

More details from Amanda Jones at the British Council on (031) 305-7356.

(Watch these pages for further “Britain Dancing with Durban” events and activities).




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