Contemporary dance in South Africa demonstrates Africa's primal energy, drawing on ancient rhythms that have vibrated here since the beginning of humankind as we know it. With its finger firmly on the pulse of these rhythms, South Africa offers timeless expressions of contemporary dance.

Did you know?

Jazzart Dance Theatre, started in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town, in 1973, is South Africa's oldest contemporary dance company.

In South Africa, contemporary dance is performed by artists with fire in their bellies − dancers that don't tiptoe around when it comes to taking free-form flight.

As if feeling the vibrations of Africa's ancient energy underfoot, these performers are skilful interpreters of the meaning of movement and know how to best express this to the delight of eager audiences.

Contemporary dance in South Africa has an extensive and eclectic, post-colonial reach with a cosmopolitan footprint that has resonance and relevance for most, if not all, people interested in dynamic dancing.

KwaZulu-Natal port city Durban is one of the most active centres on the circuit of contemporary dance in South Africa.

Annually, the city hosts Jomba!, a contemporary dance experience showcasing the best in free-form dance that the country, the continent, and troupes from overseas have to offer.

Moving into Dance Mophatong performance company, Vuyani Dance Theatre, choreographer Gladys Agulhas, South Africa's most famous contemporary dance export Robyn Orlin, and collaborations between dance companies such as Durban's Flatfoot Dance Company and the internationally renowned Ijodee Dance Theatre from Lagos in Nigeria, have immeasurably contributed to the success of Jomba!

Elsewhere, South African contemporary dance can be regularly appreciated at a number of universities such as the University of the Witwatersrand  and the University of Johannesburg in Johannesburg, Rhodes University in Grahamstown (especially at the annual National Arts Festival), Stellenbosch University near Cape Town, and the University of Cape Town.     

Also in Cape Town, Jazzart regularly performs at Artscape, and the Remix Dance Company offers something different with its frequent, grassroots events.

And if you're lucky, the annual FNB Dance Umbrella, in partnership with the Johannesburg Arts Alive International Festival, might just be in full swing. A premier platform for experienced performers, young and upcoming dancers, dynamic cutting edge productions and the latest developments from the world of dance, Dance Umbrella is always a highlight on the calendar of South African contemporary dance.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Tel: +27 (0)21 410 9800

Vuyani Dance Theatre
Tel: +27 (0)11 838 7666

Jazzart Theatre
Tel: +27 (0)21 410 9848

How to get here

Dance venues are mostly town- or city-based, so are easily accessible by car or taxi.

Around the area

Theatres are generally in town, so restaurants, pubs and other entertainment venues are generally close by.

What will it cost

Cost will vary depending on the calibre of performance and the venue.

What to eat

Dance venues are generally theatres, which in South Africa are well equipped with bars and eateries catering to every taste.

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