NSA Reflections in Dance Spectrum 2021

NSA Reflections in Dance Spectrum 2021

From 22 – 25 September over the Heritage Day weekend, The National School of the Arts (NSA) will present Dance Spectrum “Reflections” in the Dome@NSA.

“Reflections” features choreography from NSA alumni Iain MacDonald, Gillian Bonegio, Tshepo Zasekhaya, Heather Dreyer and Yusuf Thomas. From ballet to contemporary dance, the young talent of the NSA dance department will showcase their artistry, offering a gentle reflection on both the times that we are living through and the past.

“As I returned to the rehearsal studios and started working with the students, it highlighted again how passion and talent are innate, but that commitment is nurtured and taught “, reflects Iain MacDonald, artistic director of the Joburg Ballet, “it was beautiful to see those who committed to the process ultimately fulfilling their passion – to dance. My wish for the students is that they never give up on their passion and remain committed to achieving whatever their hearts desire.”

“It is a privilege to be able to teach at the school where I spent five wonderfully happy years learning and growing as a dancer and a person. I continue my journey of growth daily as I teach, and at the same time learn from the beautiful, talented students that shine in our studios regularly,” reflected Gillian Bonegio, whose name is synonymous with Spanish Flamenco Dancing.

Tshepo Zasekhaya and Heather Dreyer (Buckland) formed a close friendship while they were at school. It is not surprising that they chose to collaborate on their choreographic work for the current season. “Our work is about finding yourself, figuring out who you are in the world through the relationships you form around you,” comments Dreyer, “these relationships highlight our differences and similarities and are often an opportunity to see the world in a different light,” concludes Dreyer. “Some relationships are pivotal to us finding our identity and place in this world. We dedicate our choreography, “Insight”, to our friendship and the NSA”, added Zasekhaya.

Yusuf Thomas’s post-school journey has seen him notching up credit for his moving and socially conscious themed choreography. His Dance Spectrum 2021 work reflects on the oppressive political past of South Africa and the sacrifices made by the youth of 1976. He creates a powerful allegory using the past to reflect on the realities of the present and the endemic challenges faced by the youth of today. Seemingly betrayed by the system with the promise of a brighter future fast disappearing, the work promises to be a stirring reflection of the past – a sad mirror for the present struggles.

NSA alumni Sumeet Sarkar (Matric 2011), a cum laude graduate in film composition and performance from Berklee College of Music, has composed the score for this piece. “Music has truly been a blessing in my life, and I am grateful to have rooted from such a heart-warming community within the NSA to help me take my dreams further each day,” writes Sumeet. “I hope the young spirits in NSA are staying strong. I wish them all the warmth and safety during this time. It’s a gift on its own to hear that you’ll be celebrating the arts with this season of “Dance Spectrum – REFLECTIONS.” From across the pond, I offer my compositions – my reflection.”

The programme also features some of the top student choreography from 2021 – and dance enthusiasts can look forward to seeing the high calibre of choreography produced by the emerging choreographers currently schooling at the NSA. “In looking back, we can look forward,” says Haydee Baker, HOD of Dance at the National School of the Arts, herself an NSA alum and former professional ballerina, “we are grateful to be able to reflect on past and present journeys. It is a privilege to welcome back former learners into the heart of their old school. It is also a privilege to create new work and to perform in front of a live audience. With adjusted level 2 restrictions, we can now perform to over 500 people outdoors. The weather is warm, and we are thrilled to be able to offer live dance to a “real” audience during this fearful time in our history”, concludes Baker.

Dance Spectrum – REFLECTIONS is made possible through a social investment closing grant from the FirstRand Foundation, through the RMB’s Fund for Education for a Creative Economy, Universal Music Africa, through the Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC), and a supporting grant from Business and Arts South Africa (BASA). The NSA also acknowledges Splitbeam Gearhouse, who helped fuel the dream of creating a safe performance space – outdoors – now fondly known as The Dome@NSA.

“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.”

 ― Albert Einstein

Dance Spectrum REFLECTIONS will play in The DOME@NSA from 22 – 25 September with all the covid protocols in place.

Performance times:
Wednesday 22 September at 19:00 (preview)
Thursday 23 September at 19:00 (preview)
Friday 24 (Public Holiday) at 17:30 and 19:30
Saturday 25 at 17:30 and 19:30

Tickets are R100 each, and booking is through shop@artschool.co.za. Patrons can email shop@artschool.co.za or WhatsApp their requests to 081 340 0674 indicating which performance they will be attending and attaching proof of payment to secure their tickets. There will also be ticket sales at the door. There is safe parking on the NSA Field, and access to the venue is through the first Melle Street Gate.

Iain MacDonald
Gillian Bonegio
Tshepo Zasekhaya
Heather Dreyer
Yusuf Thomas

Original composition by Sumeet Sarkar


Grade 9:

Emily Dove, Jodé Golding, Cassidy Holman, Creagan Martin, Kgalalelo Mfokazane, Msizi Ngwenya, Botlhale Phalane.

Grade 10:

Mbali Brandt, Jaymé Golding, Tshenolo Kubyane, Thlopiwe Losaba, Ursula Masuku, Lehlogonolo (Hloni) Mokgosi, Lehlohonolo (Thato) Molusi, Reaoleboga Mompati, Dikgabiso Motsisi, Thato Sharon Sedibe.

Grade 11:

Letlotlo Hailey Baloyi, Chinyere Fortune Benard, Faahkir Bestman, Faiz Dalman, Chaylin Jacobs, Kefentse Keshy, Bonoko Khoda, Lerato Maduna, McKayla Malhou, Siyabulela Maninjwa, Nokukhanya Mkhwanazi, Gabriel Poulsen, Ayanda Shiviri, Moleboheng Sibiya, Kiyara Taylor, Faith Van Greunen.

Grade 12:

Taylor Pieterson, Paballo Tshoke, Vuyelwa Phota (solo & video) (Video): Kay Hansia, Kaydon Tucker

Lighting Design: Oliver Hauser
Technical Direction: SplitBeam GearHouse
AV: Lauge Sorenson

All enquiries:
Brenda Sakellarides
082 600 6739

Brenda Sakellarides
082 600 6739
The National School of the Arts