Local dances for spot in overseas ensemble

2017-07-25 06:01
Dance finalists Londiwe Khoza, Xanthe van Opstal and Christopher Ofanoa work with Ohad Naharin in the Batsheva Dance Company studio.PHOTO: HUGO GLENDINNING

Dance finalists Londiwe Khoza, Xanthe van Opstal and Christopher Ofanoa work with Ohad Naharin in the Batsheva Dance Company studio.PHOTO: HUGO GLENDINNING

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Local dancer Londiwe Khoza is jetting off to Tel Aviv to take up a prestigious spot in the Batsheva Dance Company’s young ensemble.

The Camps Bay dancer is one of seven artists from around the world to participate in the 2016/2017 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. She was selected in the dance category by Israeli mentor Ohad Naharin, artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company.

Khoza took up an apprenticeship with the ensemble in May, and will begin her contract next month.

“Dancers, good dancers, all share something that is beyond our school, which has to do with coordination, groove, explosiveness, the ability to connect with their imagination and their clear form. People like that like to reflect on ideas and the things that we discuss here. They are able to go beyond their familiar limits on a daily basis and give up old ideas for better new ones,” says Naharin.

For Khoza, it was the beginning of a period of self-discovery. “I walked into this year knowing that this was a ‘once in a life time experience’ and I am overwhelmed on a daily basis at how much truth that statement holds. The things I have learned about myself, both professionally and personally, are things that have opened up doors and channels to my journey as an artist.”

Khoza took the challenges in her stride, learning about her body and her craft in the process. She explains that, in many ways, it felt like learning to walk again. As she studied under Naharin, she had to teach her body a new way of “speaking” while finding a way to merge all the principles it already knew.

“I think one of the hardest things for me was to learn to listen to my body rather than just telling it what to do. Learning to listen to the weight of my body, the natural curves and path and rhythms of my body. It sounds really simple, but when it’s something that hasn’t been the norm, it’s something that can be challenging.”

Naharin says: “Lately, when I see her, I get moved. I feel happy to see what she is researching, what she is achieving, her choices. When this happens, it is huge because not everybody moves me.”

Khoza is starring in all of the company’s performances this season.

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