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Jazzart Dance Theatre is a leading South African contemporary dance company [1].


Jazzart Dance Studio

Originally founded in 1975 by Sonje Mayo and called the Jazzart Dance Studio, it had its first home in Longmarket Street, Cape Town, and was intended to provide dance training for underpivileged children. It later moved to Jameson Street in the Bo-Kaap.

Jazzart Contemporary Dance Company

In 1978 Sue Parker took over and formed the Contemporary Dance Company as part of it, to offer classes in contemporary dance. Val Steyn continued this work, renaming the institution the Jazzart Contemporary Dance Company.

Jazzart Dance Theatre

In 1986 Alfred Hinkel took over the reins and once more renamed it the Jazzart Dance Theatre. It now became a prominent performing company, creating audacious and challenging new theatrical work aimed at changing society.

In 1992, after two decades as a privately funded contemporary dance company, Jazzart became part of CAPAB as its in-house contemporary dance company, with Alfred Hinkel as Director. Since 1994 and following the closure of CAPAB, Jazzart (operating again as an independent entity since 1999) has been housed at the Nico Malan Theatre Centre/Artscape Theatre Centre which continues to offer it technical and logistic support, that has proved vital to its survival.

Philosophy and impact

Jazzart Dance Theatre is acknowledged as South Africa's leading contemporary dance/theatre performing company with an enormous creative and critical output. Its roots and philosophy are located in the widest range of cultural experiences available within the Western Cape primarily, and South Africa generally. It is acknowledged as a vibrant and deeply socially and community committed cultural organization. Jazzart has ensured that strong technique has been matched by a uniquely South African philosophy of dance.



Their first major project was Abamayani (1986), followed by **, ** and Bolero (1990)**. It however still produced other work, including Medea (Choreographed by Alfred Hinkel, directed by Mark Fleishman in association with Magnet Theatre, 1994), The Sun, the Moon and the Knife (Choreographed by Alfred Hinkel, directed by Mark Fleishman in association with Magnet Theatre, 1995), Beyond the Borders (in association with the Cape Town City Ballet, 19**), Junction (1996), Umoya Womzanzi ("Breath of the South", 19*), Moya Wa Sechaba ("Spirit of the Nation", 19*), Cold Waters, Thirsty Souls (19*), ***, Rain in a Dead Man's Footprints (with Magnet Theatre, 200*), Light Beyond the Door (Spier Amphitheatre, 2003), Gatherings (Artscape Theatre, 2008).

Outreach projects

A major project is the Namaqualand Rural Dance Project (Namjive), begun in 1997 by Dawn Langdown to develop creative skills among the youth in that far flung region.



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