Spartacus is from Soweto

 

Precise. Graceful. Powerful. Andile Ndlovu glides onto stage. The floor gleams under the lights. Behind him, recycled plastic bags knitted into vines form an intricate backdrop. His strength is clear from his build, matched by perfect control as he leaps into empty space. Without saying a word, this dancer has become Spartacus.

Ndlovu is on stage as the lead in Spartacus of Africa, a contemporary African reimagining of the famous Russian ballet. Produced by the South African National Dance Trust (SANDT), the performance tells the old age Greek story of Spartacus by infusing it with African elements. Veronica Paeper, a prominent figure in South African ballet, is the director responsible for bringing the piece to life, fulfilling a longstanding dream. It’s been a real success, performing for two runs in 2016.

Spartacus of Africa has seen people from different backgrounds coming together to celebrate African identity. The quality of the production is a result of the dedication and hard work of the cast and crew. It has opened doors for budding dancers and given them the opportunity to make a career out of their passion. And as Ndlovu’s success as Spartacus shows, South African children who dream of being dancers can see their aspirations being validated.