Ex-Cambrige pupil to tour Europe
Fun, bubbly and charismatic East London dancer Vuyo Mahashe has been selected for Pina Bausch’s ballet Rite of Spring, which will tour in Europe later this year.
He is the only South African in the performance.
A grateful Mahashe said he was honoured to be chosen as part of the company.
“It has been an incredible journey and it could not have happened without people who believed in me, such as Christine Elliot. She had hope and faith in me, so much so that she sponsored my audition in Senegal.
“I am very thankful as the opportunity has changed my life,” he said. He described his time in Senegal as eye-opening and said it had dramatically changed his perspective.
“It opened my eyes so much because I have always been sort of closed off in SA, but travelling in Africa made me see my brothers and sisters in a way I hadn’t before. I returned with my entire life changed,” said Mahashe.
The former Cambridge High School pupil is trained in classical blallet, contemporary African dance, jazz, tap and musical theatre.
“I chose to be a dancer in modern and new age dance as it relates to more people. I used to dance for classical ballet companies, but I felt it was a very elite, soft form of art that was only for a specific few people who understood it,” he said.
Mahashe started dance in grade 10 after taking part in school plays, taking on music and drama as subjects.
“I only discovered dance after watching a movie called Billy Elliot for our grade 10 film studies.
“At that time, I didn’t even have dancing shoes. I used to go to tap classes with my school shoes.
“I have always had great teachers who took care of me and made sure I went in the right direction, from my first dance teacher to my college teachers.
“I’m very blessed, because not everyone gets to experience that.”
Mahashe counts Jaquel Knight and Chris Grant of the US and South Africans Gregory Maqoma and Mamela Nyamza as some of his biggest inspirations.
Mahashe said he was grateful for his family’s continued support and was thankful that they encouraged him to follow his dreams.
“I thank God that I had a family that believed in me.
“My grandmother allowed me to be who I am because without her and her beliefs that I could be something big in this world, I would never have stepped into the dance studio in the first place,” he said.
Mahashe had plenty of advice for young people looking to take on dance as a career.
“I want to urge every black boy out there that you must follow your dreams.
“It gets tough out there, but dance is a wonderful art form and I get to do what I love everyday. I’m so blessed to be doing what I love,” he said.