Dancer, Joburg Ballet
Keke Chele is a talented member of the Joburg Ballet dance company, but by no means is he an aloof prima donna. Instead he’s fully committed to helping the next generation of young dancers discover their talent through his role as co-ordinator at the Joburg Ballet school.
The Accelerated Programme development school offers a range of outreach programmes, and Chele co-ordinates the three branches in Braamfontein, Soweto and Alexandra, attended by about 250 children aged six to 16. The aim is to become a centre of excellence and produce dancers who go on to join the professional company.
In adddition to dancing with Joburg Ballet, Chele is its public relations assistant and oversees its corporate events. He also taught primary ballet at Madibatlou Primary School in Olifantsfontein for Mzansi Productions’ Outreach Programme.
Chele himself comes from Sharpeville and matriculated at The National School of the Arts. He made his professional debut during his matric year, playing Brett in the musical Children’s Letters to God.
His formal dance training began at Tshwane University of Technology where he was part of several musical productions and dance shows, including the Black Tie Ensemble’s presentation of The Merry Widow.
After graduating in Musical Theatre he was appointed as a teacher and studio co-ordinator at Monnyth Arts House in the State Theatre. Later he spent four months with the Daksha Sheth Dance Company in India, performing with the troupe and leading the dancers in classes on Body Conditioning and Theatre Dance.
His choreographic credits include Engagements for the second-year choreographic examination at Tshwane University of Technology and Mafolofolo A Lerato in the FNB Dance Umbrella for Monnyth Art House. More recently he created the opening sequence for Big Brother Africa’s opening show with the band Mafikizolo, and collaborated with a Cuban colleague to create a salsa dance piece called HAVANA!
He has been seen on stage recently in Giselle, Coppélia and La Bayadère with Joburg Ballet, and he played the Pasha in the company’s production of Le Corsaire, an ugly stepsister in Cinderella and the butler in The Nutcracker Re-Imagined. His dancing has also taken him to China, where he performed in Carmina Burana as well as in three scenes from the ballet Kopano.
— Lesley Stones