Created in 1992, the Via Katlehong Dance company, led by Vusi Mdoyi, Steven Faleni and Buru Mohlabane, borrows its name of the township of Katlehong in East Rand, a deprived district which produced the pantsula counter-culture, born in the townships in the 1960s and 1970s, under the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Like hip hop in the United States and Europe, pantsula culture is an entire lifestyle, covering fashion, music, dance, gestural and spoken codes. And like hip hop, this culture finds its place of expression in the street.
In the 1990s, as a multiracial South Africa slowly emerged, the company continued to fight for the young people of the poor districts. The company's shows and performances mix several dances: pantsula (non-acrobatic but virtuosic kind of hip hop), tap dance (percussive taps with metal-tipped shoes), stepping (similar to the American time step) and the gumboot dance (miners' dance, done in Wellingtons, or gumboots).
In combining these traditions, the South African company produces an energetic, festive and cheeky dance.
Sustained by a strong communal identity, Via Katlehong Dance pursues its educational, cultural and social mission to help the young people of South Africa. The company has won several international prizes (FNB Vita Dance Umbrella, Gauteng Dance Showcase, KTV Most Brilliant Achievement, Gauteng MEC Development Award, etc.) for its creations, with its new mix of pantsula and other community dances of South Africa, like the gumboot dance and stepping.
Vernay, Marie-Christine. “Danser contre la violence, les malfaiteurs et la drogue”, Libération, 21 March 2011
Vernay, Marie-Christine. “Via Katlehong fait son tapage à Paris”, Libération, 21 March, 2011
Last updated: December 2013