Teboho ‘Tebza’ Diphehlo at Red Bull Dance Your Style 2019 Dance Week in Paris, France. Picture: Tomislav Moze/Red Bull
Teboho ‘Tebza’ Diphehlo at Red Bull Dance Your Style 2019 Dance Week in Paris, France. Picture: Tomislav Moze/Red Bull

Soweto-born star Teboho ‘Tebza’ Diphehlo takes Pantsula to the world

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Jun 23, 2020

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Pantsula king and dance teacher Teboho ‘Tebza’ Diphehlo will be hosting a virtual global Pantsula Workshop this Wednesday, June 24. 

The workshop is a partnership with Red Bull Dance Your Style South Africa, a dance battle competition that brings people together through art, dance and music while showcasing the different street dance styles that Mzansi has to offer.

The 27-year old is at the forefront of the Pantsula dance movement and has his own dance school in Naledi, Soweto. He also hosts online classes, teaching dance students in Sweden and the rest of the world.

His accolades include winning the inaugural South African leg of Red Bull Dance Your Style in 2018, which earned him a place at the World Final in 2019 in Paris. He was also in the top 25 of the nationwide television dance competition "So You Think You Can Dance", and worked as an assistant choreographer on the show.

The Soweto born choreographer and philanthropist says he’s hoping that the live global Pantsula workshop will reach an even wider audience and spread the art and skill of complex footwork and dance moves that are uniquely South African.

Elaborating on the workshop, he explained: “The aim of this workshop is to educate people about what South Africa has to offer. Through this workshop, I will be able to showcase and educate the world about this indigenous dance culture that has been part of South African history and used as a tool to oppose the apartheid regime.

He added: “Pantsula dance has been perceived differently compared to the past and it has played a huge role in giving many township individuals the freedom and a platform to express themselves in a more artistic way and address their personal predicaments through dance. Apart from all of that, my intention with this is to share my Pantsula skills that can be adapted and used as a base in any dance form.”

Diphehlo's ultimate goal is to grow the industry in order to curb the issue of unemployment in the townships “because that's where the Pantsula dancers come from.”

On what can be expected from the workshop, he revealed: “People should expect to sweat a lot (haha). Jokes! I will be sharing an important knowledge regarding Pantsula dance during the workshop and am excited to have dancers and enthusiasts around the world join in.”

As for his highs and lows, he shared: “I started off as a dancer and as soon as I got recognition people started asking me to teach them how to dance especially people around my township. I know I can not change the world but with my skills and knowledge I can change the condition of my community, and that's how I started my dance school.”

Diphehlo continued: “I wanted to provide a healthy distraction to the young people and equip them with skills that can help them secure a brighter future for themselves. My school comes as a resistance to the engagement of drugs and alcohol in the townships.

“It is not formal due to some lack of adequate resources and funds, however, I'm currently writing a dance syllabus that I'm hoping will be supported by the Department of Arts and Culture so that I can build a proper art facility for people to attend a formal Pantsula training.”

The coronavirus has forced many, if not all of us, to look at the world differently, with the “new normal”.

The young creative elaborated: “Most of the things had gone digital, and this has forced me to be more creative. The global lockdown, my Pantsula teaching skills has been on demand through online platforms and I've been earning some cash to survive through these trying times.”

The youngster also offered that he’s started a clothing brand, Smart Pantsula with the aim of creating job opportunities for the young people in my community.

“My intention with this clothing brand is to sell merchandise so that I can build an art centre in my community. I am willing to invest my time in building something that will benefit my community and the surrounding areas. People can support me any way they can...the goal is one, striving for change in the townships.”

The workshop will be streamed on Instagram Live on the global Red Bull page @redbulldance, on Wednesday, June 24, at 7pm. 

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