Nomsa Manaka highlights the importance of South African indigenous dances
Share this article:
Dance pioneer Nomsa Manaka says her life-long dream is to teach the youth of Mzansi the importance of indigenous dances and rhythms of Southern Africa.
“My greatest dream, if anything, is to see our children learning more about who we are and where we come from through our indigenous dances, and to make sure that all traditional dances and rhythms of South Africa are treated with and given the respect and dignity they deserve,” says the award-winning choreographer.
The legendary dancer, choreographer and actress was first introduced to African dance styles during the ’80s, fusing the different dances from other African countries with South Africa’s contemporary township-pantsula dance styles making her a household name.
With the passion to impart her skills to aspiring dancers, Manaka established a dance studio in Kliptown at the Walter Sisulu Square.
The Nomsa Manaka Dance Studio was opened in 2015, where children, youth and adults could learn different types of dances.
The iconic studio was forced to shut down and become non-operational following the vandalism incident that took place in December last year.
It was the desperate pleas from parents of children who were part of the dance studio, aspiring dancers and the general public that encouraged Manaka to want to reopen the dance studio again.
Manaka shares that she recently managed to secure a space for the studio at the iconic Funda Art Centre in Diepkloof, Soweto, the very place where her artistic roots were nurtured and her journey as a dancer began.
Despite her ongoing battle with cancer, Manaka is determined to ensure that the classes resume on October 2.
Manaka and her team of dance instructors are appealing to South Africans to assist with donations and contributions towards the studio’s lack of facilities such as mirrors, a dance floor, wooden ballet bars, a sound system, among others.
“I would love to see the Nomsa Manaka Dance Studio become a space where everyone is welcomed, regardless of race, colour, gender or nationality.
“I see the studio becoming a home where all cultures can belong, where people from all walks of life can share, learn, grow and inspire through music and dance,” she adds.
With an illustrious career spanning over three decades, Manaka choreographed and directed the following, highly acclaimed dance shows “Sego”, “The African Calabash”, “Dance Unity 1994, ”Midnight in Paris“ performed in France, Izwelethu performed at the American Dance Festival in North Carolina at the Duke University, ”Rainbow of Hope“, ”Children of Asazi“ and ”Toro: The African Dream“.
She also conducted dance workshops in Ireland, London, Switzerland, Germany, Singapore, China, Thailand and the USA.
She was named the 2019 and 2020 Best Creative Award recipient Vita Basadi Award from the Gauteng Legislature.
She is also the recipient of the 2020 Special Award by Ishashalazi Awards for Development of Theatre.