Lesole’s Dance Project: Zulu, Gumboot and Street Dances from South Africa

Dance your way to the tip of the African continent! Experience three exciting cultures… Traditional Ndlamudance from Zulu villages that give a snapshot of the clothing, customs, live drumming and high energy of South Africa…the moves and percussive sounds of Gumboot, a kind of “instant messaging” dance slapped out on gold miners’ rubber boots…and Pantsula, an upbeat urban dance like American hip-hop but with a cultural twist, that audience volunteers are invited to learn! Lesole’s Dance Project is a traditional and modern dance company founded in 2003 by native South African Lesole Maine. The company has performed to acclaim throughout the U.S. and locally at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Smithsonian and area schools. Workshops and residencies available.

The excitement level and engagement was amazing! Students will always remember this because they were actively involved.

— WILLARDS ES

Lesole Zachariah Maine was born in Sebokeng, South Africa. This small township just outside of Johannesburg, rich in diversity, culture and tradition was an environment where he recognized his love of dance and appreciation for the many ethnic customs taking place around him. Fluent in more than three languages, Lesole is able to use his heritage to enhance his performances. In 1995, he was awarded a scholarship to study with Johannesburg based Moving Into Dance Company, where he studied contemporary, jazz, Afro-fusion, modern, ballet, jive, hip hop, traditional and modern South African dance. After graduating from the Community Dance Teaching Course, Lesole was offered a position as a dancer and teacher in 1997. He has since performed and taught dance workshops in several countries including: Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, France, Germany, Holland, Jordan, Lesotho, Malaysia, Nigeria, Portugal, Switzerland, and the U.S.

For the past five years he has performed several solos by Vincent Mantsoe, Gregory Maqoma and Themba Nkabinde’s pieces, and has worked with internationally acclaimed choreographers and companies, such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; South Africans Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe, Sylvia Glasser, Gregory Maqoma and Jackie Semela; Michel Kelemenis from France; and Canadian Joe Laughlin.

Since his move to the United States in 2002, Lesole has been involved in several projects. He was a resident instructor for the Kuumba Ensemble Heritage House Community Theater and a guest lecturer/residence and thought master class at University of Colorado, Community College of Baltimore County, Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2002, Lesole received a grant from the Washington Post to teach African dance to students in the Montgomery County Public Schools system, where he emphasized cultural awareness and leadership skills to encourage academic achievement. Lesole performed with the University of Maryland-based choreographer Alvin Mayes and Nejla Yatkin at Dance Place and the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in Washington, D.C.

Lesole is currently working with several recognized dance companies, including: Liz Lerman Dance Exchange; Jane Franklin Dance; Step Afrika; Knock-on-Wood Tap Studios, Arena Stage, Dance & Praise Cultural Arts Center; and the Cathedral School for the Performing Arts.

Artist’s website: Lesole’s Dance Project

Dancing through South Africa

Dancing through South Africa is divided into a three-part program that emphasizes the role of dance in promoting a deeper understanding and acceptance among people of different backgrounds and cultural traditions. The program supports the diversity of the school system as it recognizes that even within the African continent, Western, Eastern, Northern and Southern traditions vary (many students have already been exposed to some aspects of other parts of Africa). Students learn best by “doing” and Lesole’s Dance Project actively engages the audience throughout all three dance experiences:

  • Traditional Zulu/tribal dance
  • Gumboot – originated in the gold mines in South Africa during the oppressive Apartheid years.
  • Pantsula – modern social/hip-hop dance

Single $675/Back-to-Back $950

Fees are for daytime school programs in Maryland, Washington, DC and Northern Virginia only.

Evening, weekend, workshop and non-school fees differ – please contact us.

Additional travel fees apply.

Workshops

Students learn elements of traditional Zulu, Gumboot, and street dances, songs in the Zulu language, and drumming techniques while exploring the culture and history of South Africa. Workshop topics may be tailored to suit teachers’ goals and students’ ages and abilities. Workshop offerings include:

  • Songs in the Zulu language
  • South African dancing
  • Gumboot dancing
  • Drumming

Evening, weekend, workshop and non-school fees differ – please contact us.

Additional travel fees apply.

Audience, Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Art Forms, Dance, Music

Program Type, Performance, Workshop, Residency

Curriculum/Theme, Language Arts, Social Studies, World Languages, Character/SEL

Thank you for your interest in Artivate's professional teaching artists. We are excited to work with you to bring high-quality performances and workshops to your community.

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