The Dance for All (DFA) tribute gala performance brought to the forefront the relevance of sustainable movement or dance education in South Africa, and just how important it is. The curtains opened to heartfelt introductory and purpose speeches, with the story of Hope Nongqongqo embracing the sentiment of optimism as she explained how DFA not only enriched her life, taught her skills but conducted this with the idea for a viable future.
The purpose of the performance was two-fold: to celebrate the 21st birthday of DFA, as well as a salute to Mr Dudley Tomlinson who made his mark choreographically and pedagogically to generations of South African dancers.
The entertainment itself showcased a variety of dance forms: ballet, contemporary ballet, african as well as jazz advocating the axiom “variety is the spice of life”. During these performances the vision of empowerment was clear, however, what made the most endearing emotional connection was the triumph of DFA, that performing on the Artscape stage were dancers that embodied pride, hope and discipline to achieve their own goals. This extends both to dancers that are still within the DFA program as well as to dancers that have migrated overseas with the common thread of DFA instruction.
Guest artists and performing art companies such as La Rosa Spanish Dance Theatre (whose performers were previously DFA students), and Cape Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA) to name a few, gave of their time, and their indomitable performances to support this initiative. It became apparent at this juncture that ordinary South Africans, making extraordinary acts of humanity is what is what has enabled DFA to celebrate 21 years. In the words of Desmond Tutu, who is DFA’s honorary life patron: “ Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
Desmond Tutu’s presence at the gala supported the desire to create a South Africa that appreciates this art form, the enjoyment of it and how critical it is as a vehicle for upliftment within this specific ambit.
The gala closed with the audience feeling satiated from the diversity that was performed, and hopefully fuelled with encouragement for what is to come. DFA saluted Dudley Tomlinson for his contribution; let us acknowledge Dance for All in all that they have achieved in 21 years, looking ahead to the next 21 years.
Naomi van Rooyen (DFA Marketing), wrote:
“Thanks to all our wonderful supporters who attended DFA's 21st Anniversary Gala, Stargaze, on Sunday evening. Your enthusiasm and warmth as an audience were deeply appreciated.
We are very proud of our students, who excelled themselves with sparkling performances. It's gratifying to see all the hours of rehearsal pay off so handsomely.
After we were told that he wouldn't be able to attend, our Honorary Life Patron, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu (fondly known to us as The Arch) surprised us with his presence. His arrival was the cherry on top of a very special evening for us all.
If you were unable to attend the Stargaze Gala, we hope you won't miss our next show. We'll be sure to keep you informed.”
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