Jun 2019 2nd Edition

Dancing to the world

Written by Dale Hes

Oscar ButheleziOscar Buthulezi (28) has danced his way to choreographing award-winning international performances on stages around the world.

Raised by a single taxi driver father in Vosloorus in Gauteng, Buthelezi says among his community dance was not viewed as a proper career choice for young boys.

However, when he was six-years-old he discovered a youth club where young people were performing Pantsula a township dance and traditional African dances.

 “I fell in love with dance and for 13 years I was involved at the youth club, dancing and choreographing at the same time,” says Buthelezi.

After completing matric in 2009, he enrolled with the Moving into Dance training college based in Newtown in Johannesburg to perfect his talent.

While at the school he expanded his dance and choreography skills by getting involved in Afro-fusion, contemporary and ballet dancing.

Shortly after graduating at the college, Buthelezi began working for Moving into Dance.

In 2016, he scooped his first two international awards at the Kurt Jooss International Award for Choreography.

This award was for choreographing and performing in “ROAD”, a duet which is based on living life as a single father. He became the first ever African to win this prestigious award.

“The award opened a lot of doors for me here at home and internationally” said Buthelezi.

In 2017, Buthelezi worked on the South African staging of The Colour Purple, which has toured to six countries and won multiple awards.

In 2019, the musical won seven awards at the Naledi Theatre Awards, with Buthelezi winning Best Original Choreography.

Buthelezi's biggest achievement in his career is being nominated at the 33rd International Competition for Choreographers in Germany, which takes place on 21 and 22 June.

Despite his incredible international success, Buthelezi remains passionate about South Africa and the youth.

“I visit schools to do something I call Edu-Dance, which tries to take what the kids learn during theory at school and translate it into movement so that they can understand it in a more practical way,” says Buthelezi.

“Whenever I create works, I try to focus on issues in our country. Like women abuse, drug abuse or politics. I want my work to touch and heal people,” he said.

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