What inspired your new dance works?
Sunnyboy: 'I am NoT' was inspired by self-discovery and exploring different ways to be creative instead of doing what we have mastered and are comfortable doing. In this work, I challenge myself to show what I’m also capable of besides what I’m known for.
Oscar: 'Stuck Souls' was inspired by my observation with the fact that we as human beings are stuck in our past experiences and are scared to expose ourselves to the world for fear of rejection or being laughed at. In this work, I came out of my comfort zone and explored new styles.
What does it mean to perform on a platform such as Dance Umbrella?
Sunnyboy: I have worked with other choreographers on works that were premiered at this festival. It gives us exposure and opens opportunities for the coming year.
Oscar: Dance Umbrella is one of South Africa’s most important festivals for emerging choreographers to showcase their work with the potential of getting national and international exposure.
Being raised in a township, what motivated you to choose dance as a career?
Sunnyboy: I was introduced to dance by Plumule Theatre Group. I was taught by Nhlanhla Zwane and other dance teachers would come to give us classes as well. My real inspiration came when I saw 'Xiif' by Thabo Rapoo, performed by MIDM. It was then that I decided that I wanted to dance and do exactly what the dancers were doing in this work.
Oscar: I think I was born a dancer. I started dancing when I was around six with a group called Via Vosloorus Mapantsula Youth Club. I fell in love with Zulu dance and all the other African dance styles. In 2006 I choreographed a number of pieces for television.
Your career journey so far and aspirations as choreographers?
Sunnyboy: I have collaborated with a few international choreographers and toured the world. All I want to do is dance, create dance, teach dance and nurture young talent. I want to collaborate further with international and national artists, creating cross-disciplinary work, and I want to tour more, internationally. I want to grow MIDM’s footprint in Africa and embrace new and different dance techniques that will strengthen their brand of Afrofusion.
Oscar: My journey hasn’t been easy but I’m grateful that I have received some recognition so early in my career. This has motivated me to work even harder and hopefully one day see dance getting the same support and recognition that mainstream sports like soccer receive. I also want to perform on more international stages to showcase South Africa’s dance talent to the world.
What can we look forward to from you this year?
Sunnyboy: After Dance Umbrella we’re going to France to tour with Robyn Orlin’s 'Beauty'. In May, I’m performing 'We are Still Marching' in Johannesburg and Durban. It was commissioned by The Playhouse Company in Durban and premiered during Women’s Month. In June, I’m going to Israel to teach Afrofusion classes at Summer School. In between, I will teach classes at the MIDM Dance School and do community outreach work.
Oscar: I’m looking forward to joining Robyn Orlin’s tour. I also teach dance at MIDM. Our calendar is full and dance lovers can keep up to date by visiting midance.co.za.
What can youngsters do if they want to follow in your footsteps?
Sunnyboy: They need to be patient. It takes time and you need to love what you do.
Oscar: They need to follow their passion and work hard to be the best in what they do.
Performances are on Tuesday, February 28 and Wednesday, March 1 at Wits Theatre, 7pm, and includes a triple bill featuring 'Stuck Souls' and 'I am NoT', and Vuyani Dance Theatre’s Lulu Mlangeni in the solo 'Page 27'.