Dance Festivals in South Africa
Did you know?
Toyi-toyi, the war dance of protestors in South Africa, is a San expression for 'obscure origins'. No one really knows why it’s called the toyi-toyi. The same can be said for the Afrikaans folk dance, the sakkie-sakkie and the phatha-phatha which developed in the townships.
Dance festivals in South Africa have blossomed since former President Nelson Mandela smilingly jigged onto the world stage, instilling happiness in the hearts of a divided nation perched on the threshold of unified liberation. Is it any wonder that the country's current president also has a dance routine?
In South Africa dance festivals are like rugby for the rhythmically inclined. Spontaneous break-outs of dance aren't uncommon on the streets and if you miss these, be sure to witness the natural affinity South Africans have for riveting rhythm at one of the many venues hosting dance festivals.
Be it the Barn Theatre in Port Elizabeth; the Baxter or Little Theatre at the University of Cape Town; the Dance Factory in Johannesburg; the Guild Theatre in East London; Port Elizabeth's Opera House and Savoy Theatre; the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban; or Grahamston's Box and Rhodes theatres, you can count on a dance festival being staged at a venue nearby.
In South Africa, dance festivals often have a distinct grassroots appeal. In Stutterheim there's the Amahlathi Festival, Knysna has an Arts Festival, Oudtshoorn has the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, in Potchefstroom there's Aardklop, the Stellenbosch Summer Festival hosts the St Anne's Theatre Festival, Grahamstown takes the lead with its National Arts Festival and Pick of the Fringe, and just over the mountain in a fairytale part of the country said to have inspired Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien, is the Hogsback Festival.
South African dance events in the cities include the FNB Dance Umbrella, the Arts Alive Festival, the Women in Arts Festival, and the Out the Box Festival in Johannesburg; the Spier Contemporary Festival as well as Pick of the Fringe in Cape Town; and in Durban the Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience has become all the rage.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0) 11 340 8000
South African Ballet Theatre
Tel: +27 (0)11-877 6898
Cell: +27 83 324 0949
Cape Town City Ballet
Tel: +27 (21) 650 2400 or +27 (21) 650 4672
Tel: +27 (0) 21 410-9800