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KZN DANCELINK AWARDS (article first published : 2004-10-26)

The 2004 KZN DanceLink Awards were held at the Catalina Theatre last night (October 25). Guest speaker was Professor Pitika Ntuli, Executive Director of Organisational Culture and African Scholarship, UKZN.

2004 Chairperson Gerard Samuel noted that the past year had “once again been a force against which our dance artists have been battered (inconsistency in annual funding, few performance opportunities, dwindling media attention).”

He continued: “The tide is hopefully turning and in spite of their many bruises, choreographers, directors and dancers have excelled. This special occasion – 2004 Dance Awards – is thus our annual shower of respect for your tenacity and our expression of awe for your boundless ingenuity and creativity in dance. Congratulations to all our nominees and winners.

“To echo the words of dance pioneer, Martha Graham, “We look at the dance to impart the sensation of living in an affirmation of life, to energise the spectator into keener awareness of the vigour, the mystery, the humour, the variety and the wonder of life.”

Nominees for Dancer of the Year were Desiree Davids; Denton Douglas; Siyanda Duma; Louise Fraquet; Ntombi Gasa; Musa Hlatshwayo; Angela Lardant; Julie Moore; Mdu Mtshali; Thulebona Mzizi; S'phelele Nzama; Shiksha Rampatha; Neliswa Rushualang; Linda Vargas, and Welile Tembe. The winner was Neliswa Rushualang, a founder member and principal dancer of the Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre.

Outright winner for the Breakthrough/Newcomer: Woman award was Marise Kyd. She was awarded a floating trophy which was presented in loving memory of Ansuyah Bhagwanjee. This 25-year-old dancer, choreographer and dance educator from Wentworth is a full-time dancer with Flatfoot Dance Company.

Nominees for the Breakthrough/Newcomer: Man award were Stembiso Gcabashe; Sifiso Khumalo; Mlekeleli Khuzwayo; Sifiso Majola; Sanele Mzinyame; S’busiso Ngidi; Mxolisi Nkomonde and Trevor Sihlangu. The judges considered that because they worked so well as a group five dancers would be given the award as an ensemble. They are Sithembiso Gcabashe, Sifiso Khumalo, Mlekeleli Khuzwayo; Sanele Mzinyane and Sibusiso Ngidi, all members of Phenduka Dance Theatre.

Nominees for Choreographer of the Year were David Gouldie, Sifiso Kweyama, Lliane Loots, Sbonakaliso Ndaba; Jay Pather and Gerard Samuel. The award was presented to David Gouldie, Resident Choreographer of the Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Company.

A Special Award was introduced named The Abalalongi Award. (“Abalalongi”: comes from the word “lolonga” – to smooth any work of art, either a clay pot, a carved statuette. The word has become used to denote preparation or guidance or help).

The Abalalongi Award was presented to dance administration personality, Peter Taylor, for services. He is respected for his balanced judgment and clear-sighted vision.

KZN Dance Link judges are Ashika Gangasagar; Lynne Goodman; Lynn Maree; Vusabantu Ngema; Vasugi Singh; Caroline Smart, and Themi Venturas. KZN Dance Link acknowledges funding from the National Lotteries Fund and the KwaZulu Natal Arts and Culture Council.




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