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Preface by Paul Mashatile, Minister of Arts and Culture of South Africa
Preface by Paul Mashatile, Minister of Arts and Culture of South Africa

For many centuries dance has been a reflection of a society’s culture, traditions, customs and norms. Through dance, we have come to understand a society’s connections and relationships. More recently, contemporary dance has been a way to bring people together.

For several years now, Europe, and more specifically, France has provided opportunities and platforms for South African choreographers and dancers to showcase their talent and launch their international careers.

Contemporary dance is certainly more developed in South Africa than elsewhere on the continent. It is through contemporary dance that the youth has been able to understand history and also the depth and scope of socio-economic issues such as education, unemployment, poverty and health.
It is through contemporary dance that South Africa’s dancers, who also consider themselves to be social activists, have been able to engage with the young and old on the challenges that we are all confronted with and the solutions that are there for us to explore.

The biennial Danse l’Afrique danse ! has done much to put African contemporary dance on the map. The fact that this year the newly-launched Soweto Theatre is one of the key venues for the event is significant, making contemporary dance accessible to communities in Soweto. It will also encourage attendance and interest from those who want to pursue dance as a career. Initiatives such as the Danse l’Afrique danse ! brings the beauty of dance closer to those who think that art is only paint and portraits. It is also an opportunity for professionals to identify and nurture new young talent in South Africa in the world of choreography and dance.

The France-South Africa collaboration is especially important in developing the genre of contemporary dance in South Africa. It exposes South Africa’s dancers and choreographers to French artists and music, new ideas and innovative ways of translating feelings, ideas, concepts and observations onto a more global and universal platform.

Through this event we hope that you will not only enjoy the performance and background of contemporary dance, but also its relevance in a world that is becoming increasingly globalised, modern and integrated.

Paul Mashatile
Minister of Arts and Culture of South Africa

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