Durban’s Mlu Zondi’s talent recognised

2010-01-16 00:00

THE 2010 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for dance is Durban born-and-bred Mlu Zondi, a dynamic, out-of-the-box performer who moves seamlessly between the stage, gallery and public spaces, and challenges the boundaries of the dance discipline with his cutting-edge performance art, video and multi-media installations.

“As a young artist, winning this award puts you at the forefront of the South African art scene,” Zondi said. “It boosts your confidence immensely, allowing you to create without the self-censorship that comes with uncertainty. You also get a huge platform at the National Arts Festival [in Grahamstown], exposing your work to a wider audience. What more can you ask for.”

Explaining why Zondi was chosen as this year’s winner, Jay Pather, National Arts Festival committee member for dance, said: “Mlu is thoughtful, considered and a complex creator and performer.

“He is a substantial thinker and creates work that is evocative as well as enigmatic and mysterious. He is not your average ‘flash’ dancer, and will more likely sweep one away with a quiet anarchy and a profound intelligence than try to please you with superficial entertainment.”

Zondi describes his early experiences as an orphan growing up with an extended family as instrumental in his drive to perform. His urge to study with no financial means saw him work as a petrol attendant for three years after matriculating, saving for his further studies. This tenacity and endurance is still evident in his work, in a context where the level of experimentation and risk in performance culture is rare. 

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