100 World Class South Africans: Andile Ndlovu

2013-08-28 12:00

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Brave and beautiful role model

The streets of Soweto are no place to foster a love of ballet.

If you’re a boy on those streets, it’s even worse.

Andile Ndlovu started out doing Latin American and ballroom dancing (ballet didn’t fit into the realm of possibility), and he was taunted.

Then at 15 he found out about an outreach programme by choreographer Martin Schonberg and was offered a scholarship to Ballet Theatre Afrikan.

Soon Ndlovu was landing major roles with the SA Ballet Theatre, including the lead in Don Quixote.

The following year he tied for first place in the contemporary category of the SA International Ballet Competition.

In 2008 he moved to Washington’s The Studio Company, and a year later was invited to join the prestigious Washington Ballet.

He’s now in his fourth season with the company, still wowing the crowds and raking in medals – including a silver at the Boston International Ballet Competition.

Ndlovu often returns to SA to perform and inspire youngsters, hoping his success will make it easier for them to follow their passion.

As he told CNN: ‘What I wanted was to change people’s minds about black ballet dancers. I set the bar for anybody else coming up behind me.’

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