Giant leap for Mlindi

By admin
01 October 2010

It’s not the kind of thing you want to do on the street, he jokes. Not that he’s ashamed of his great passion, which is ballet. It’s that he’s afraid he’ll get carried away and be run over.

Right now he’s in his grandmother’s front garden in Nyanga, Cape Town, so Mlindi Kulashe doesn’t mind performing a few graceful steps for the camera. And the 18-year-old dancer with the Cape Town City Ballet smiles from ear to ear as he does so – because thanks to his amazing talent he’s on the way to London to study ballet.

Mlindi is the first foreign student to win a full bursary – something usually reserved for British citizens – to the prestigious English National Ballet School in London.

So how did a guy who loved dancing kwaito and pantsula first get into a ballet class, something usually associated with tutus and pointed toes,?

“I was nine and in primary school in Athlone. I’d always loved dancing so I chose it as an extramural activity. I found out it was ballet only later,” he says with a laugh.

Mlindi applied for a bursary at the London ballet school and held thumbs.

“We were hoping half his costs would be covered but we knew it would be difficult to get the rest together. That’s why it’s so wonderful everything, including his living costs, are being covered,” Dianne Cheesman says. She’s a senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town School of Dance and has taught him for seven years.

His family struggled to raise the R6 000 he needed for a plane ticket. Mlindi’s proud mother, Vuyokazi Kulashi, approached small businesses for sponsorship.

“He was born to dance,” says Vuyokazi, a call-centre consultant. “I pray he will do his best so he can get bursaries for his second and third years.”

“My family are excited and happy that I’m doing something I love. I’d love to come back as a brilliant dancer in three years’ time.”

Mlindi says he’d also like to do choreography and acting in future although ballet remains his great love.

“I really love ballet and will never give it up for what other people want me to do. I will be a dancer for the rest of my life.”

Read more about this talented dancer in YOU, 7 October 2010.

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