People with a deep love for performing arts know that it is the choreographers who create the backbone of every dance. Their role in the arts world cannot be ignored.
This has never been truer than in the case of Oscar Buthelezi, a young South African born in the dusty township of Vosloorus on October 4, 1991. Now, at the age of 26, he is blazing up stages around the world with performance pieces that have already won him substantial recognition and international acclaim.
Oscar recently won the prestigious Kurt Jooss Prize 2016 awarded on May 14 in Germany as well as the Audience Choice Award for his duet, “Road”. In 2003 he began working with Dlala Mapantsula and, shortly before reaching teenage status, he started choreographing his own pieces. His talent soon became apparent, and by 2006 he was involved in TV productions such as YO TV Groove and Jika maJika (Dance, Dancer! ). He later joined Nkosinathi Cultural Productions performing at well-known festivals such as the annual South African Dance Umbrella Festival and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. In 2008 he headed overseas to perform in France and Netherlands.
Buthelezi was accepted as a student at legendary dance school and company, Moving Into Dance Mophatong’s Performing Arts Training Course in 2010, moving up to rank of trainee in 2011, and is now a fully-fledged member of Moving Into Dance Mophatong’s (MIDM) professional dance company, where he has contributed significantly to the company’s choreographic output.
Over the past five years he toured extensively with Robyn Orlin’s “Beauty Remained…” and was cast for “Ngisiwize” which was a collaborative creation by Sonia Radebe and Canadian choreographer, Jennifer Dallas. This work was recently staged, together with Sunnyboy Motau’s “Man-Longing”, on the main programme at the South African National Arts Festival.
Oscar worked as a choreographic assistant to Jessica Nupen for “R & J: Rebellion & Johannesburg” toured Germany for a month in September 2015, France 2016 and will tour Greece in July 2017.
“Road” was part of MIDM’s annual season in 2015 and was staged at the 9th edition of the MASA (Market for African Performing Arts) held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast from March 26 to April 2, 2016.
His newest choreography, “Stuck Souls” was commissioned by the Dance Umbrella 2017 and was performed in March. Oscar teaches, choreographs and runs workshops for MIDM as well as for his community group in Vosloorus.
Oscar was named among the Mail and Guardians Top 100 young South Africans to watch in 2016.