JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities, has honoured acclaimed Durban dancer, choreographer and educator Musa Hlatshwayo, with the Eric Shabalala Dance Champion Award.
The Award, now in its sixth year, is in honour of the late Eric Mshengu Shabalala - a local dancer, choreographer, teacher and one of the founding dancers of the Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre in Durban.
Each year, the CCA and JOMBA! present the award to recognise KwaZulu-Natal’s stalwart dancers and dance teachers.
UKZN Performing Arts Lecturer and Artistic Director of JOMBA! Ms Lliane Loots said: ‘This award is given not only in recognition of performance or choreographic excellence, but more profoundly and more importantly in recognition of dance practitioners who have worked tirelessly to help grow a culture of dance and dance training in Durban. It also recognises those who have supported the growth of dance as an art form at both community and regional levels.
‘The selection of winners of this prize by the JOMBA! Committee also recognises those who make the biggest social contribution to their communities. It looks at those who go beyond the call of duty, often with little or no funding, to put KwaZulu-Natal dancers on the international map. This is the spirit of Eric Shabalala we see living and continuing in Musa’s work,’ said Loots.
Hlatshwayo is a multi-award winning young choreographer, performer, educator, and voice artist with experience in the performing arts and community development. He completed a BA in Media and Communications as well as Drama and Performance Studies at UKZN.
He trained with the Flatfoot Student Company for two years and received an opportunity to train at the Copenhagen School of Modern Dance. He then returned to UKZN where he received his BA Honours and a Dance in Education postgraduate certificate which he completed while working as one of the founding members of the Flatfoot Dance Company in 2003.
He has also worked with the Fantastic Fish Dance Company, Portia Mashigo Dance Theatre, Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, Phenduka Dance Theatre, First Physical Theatre Company, the Handsfree Puppetry Company, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company and many other independent theatre directors, choreographers and producers.
Hlatshwayo is passionate about the role of contemporary dance in developing communities and the role it plays in fostering dialogue across socio-political divides. He has served in various educational institutions locally and abroad as a tutor, guest lecturer, course co-ordinator and external examiner in the arts departments.