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South Africa
Cape Town
Cultural Discoveries

DDance culture in South Africa is integral in a country whose history is shot-through with examples of dance as an expression of all that life's rich pageant has to offer. 

Warriors did it with spears and shields on the battlefield, and once the dust settled, women did it with a sexy shuffle in the shebeens or watering holes. Before 1994 when the country joyfully leaped to its well-deserved freedom, its people formed a phalanx against their oppressors with a jump-step protest dance. 

And there's much more to dance culture of South Africa than the umgubha, patha-patha, and the toyi-toyi. The Nama people of the Northern Cape also have their own, wild and fast-stepping, way of dancing called the Nama Riel. To see this in action, you have to keep an eye on festivals held in the Northern Cape. 

South African dance culture can be appreciated across the country in well-equipped venues or in cosy corners where the dancing is often done to the din of revelry. 

In Johannesburg ballet, contemporary, gumboot, and other forms of cultural dance are performed at the Johannesburg Theatre in Braamfontein, the Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City, the Victory Theatre, Orange Grove, or if your timing is right, you could catch the versatile and vibrant spread of Dance Umbrella, the biggest such showcase in Africa. 

The capital's only 60km away for audiences interested in grand style first-world ballet productions at the Pretoria State Theatre. In 2006 the St. Petersburg Ballet performed Swan Lake here to packed houses.                  

The country's colonial threshold, Cape Town, has an equal abundance of typically South African dance experiences. Cape Town City Ballet with its backdrop of Table Mountain must certainly be one of the most exquisitely positioned classic dance companies in the world. 

One of the city's most famous citizens, the late Phyllis Spira, still one of only 8  prima ballerina absolutas  in the world, launched an outreach programme in Gugulethu that has introduced to the world stage several African dancers second to none! 

Did You Know?

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