World-class dancer Oscar Buthelezi proved himself truly worthy of that description by winning the Kurt Jooss Choreography Prize in May.
This prestigious award is held once every three years in Germany, and Buthelezi won both the overall award and the Audience Choice Award — the first time the same dancer has won both awards in the six times they’ve been held.
Buthelezi (24) pocketed €10 000 and earned international recognition for his bold choreography and the brilliant style and sensitivity of his dancing.
He was dancing at the tender age of six in the Via Vosloorus Mapantsula Youth Club and choreographing his own pieces before he was a teenager. He appeared on TV in YO TV Groove and Jika maJika, and danced in France and the Netherlands with Nkosinathi Cultural Productions.
A big break came in 2010 when he won a training course with Moving Into Dance Mophatong (MIDM). He’s now a member of the professional Moving Into Dance company and contributes significantly to its choreographic output.
He recently worked as a choreographic assistant to renowned “dance disruptor” Jessica Nupen on Romeo & Juliet: Rebellion & Johannesburg, which toured Germany and then opened the 2016 Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg.
His plans now are to continue creating works for Moving into Dance and other companies. “I want to find my own signature style and establish it on national and international stages,” says Buthelezi. “I want to give back to communities as well because I believe that dance heals, and it has changed my life through opportunities that Moving into Dance has given me. I want to give other young people from communities like I came from a similar opportunity to change their futures.”
Buthelezi says he always dreamed of changing his stars through dancing. “I come from circumstances that would very probably have kept me on the streets, but dance has taught me discipline. It prevented me from doing crime and drugs. It has taken my raw talent and groomed it into something I earn a living from and support my family with. Dance has moulded me into a successful artist who wants to achieve even more.”
To help the next generation follow his beautifully choreographed footsteps, Buthelezi taught every week at Igagasi Primary School in Spruitview from 2011 to 2013, and now teaches teenagers in Newtown every Saturday for Moving into Dance. — Lesley Stones