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November / December 2015

November 11th Security Upgrade
Following the armed burglary in October, security was upgraded. An automatic gate closer was installed on the front gate. Panic buttons can now be reached in most parts of the school and Princeton replaced Grade D guards with Grade C. Educating Zama staff and students on safety and security is ongoing. We are unable to find a Rapid Response security company in the area and will therefore have to rely on the SAP (SA Police).

November 14th Thimna & Lwazi Doctor’s Appointment
We took Thimna Sitokisi & Lwazi Sapula to see the GP Saturday morning. Thimna had a terrible sinus infection which affected his breathing and Lwazi had picked up a skin condition that could have affected the whole school if not caught in time. The GP strongly advised Thimna see a dentist/orthodontist in the new year.

November 20th & 21st Ballet Exams
Exams took place on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st of November with examiner, Miss Tracy Li. Former CAPAB/Cape Town City Ballet Ballerina, Tracy began her training in Hong Kong at the Christine Liao School of Ballet. At the age of 15, she received a silver medal at The National Ballet Competition in China and a scholarship from The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club to further her studies at The Australian Ballet School in Melbourne. In 1992, Tracy joined the NAPAC Dance Company in Durban, where she made her debut as Juliet at the age of 19. The following year she moved to CAPAB Ballet in Cape Town where she danced many title roles in both the classics and neo-classical ballets. Some of her South African awards include Gold medallist at The Sanlam International Ballet Competition in 1993 and The Nederberg Award for 'Best Dancer of the Year' in 1997. She is a 6-times recipient of the 'Best Female Dancer' award from The Balletomanes Society and continues her work as Principal's Coach for the Cape Town City Ballet.

Zama's 2015 Grade 1 class with Cape Town City Ballet examiner Miss Tracy Li

November 25th American Radio Talk Show Host

Introduced to Zama by James Fernie of Uthando SA, American radio host Tom Joyner of the national syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show paid a fleeting visit to Zama. Seen here with Zama dancers Asanda Mehana and Thimna Sitokisi

November 28thnd Rehearsals at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts
The performance team spent Saturday afternoon with Andrew & Leanne at the CAPA studios in Tokai where rehearsals took place for the Artscape season opening the following week. Zama performed Peter Johnson's tap piece, Point the Way which was choreographed earlier in the year. The Zama students watched the whole rehearsal and they now tell us they all want to go to CAPA when they’ve graduated from Zama.

After a long day of rehearsals and much inspiration at CAPA. The Zama performance team, still in their dance togs, were treated to milkshakes and ice-cream at McDonalds

December 3rd to 5th Artscape Performances with the Cape Academy of Performing Arts
Zama was once again invited to perform alongside the full time students of Debbie Turner’s Cape Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA) at Artscape from the 3rd to 5th December. Getting a feel of working in a larger production and for someone other than Leanne and myself is a very healthy exercise for our performance team. Hearing the same requests, corrections and encouragement from a different place is also validating not just for the dancers but for the for the entire Zama team. Zama’s Point the Way, choreographed by Peter Johnson was extremely well received by an enthusiastic Artscape audience. Double performances with a 3 hr break in-between can be a challenge for Zama as it falls on Leanne and myself to keep the dancers entertained. Dancers would normally be fetched by parents after the matinee and brought back for the evening performance. This is a luxury our township dancers are not accustomed to as all lifting is done by Leanne and me in the Zama mini bus. One has to therefore be creative as you will see in the following photos where Leanne and I became the entertainment ourselves. Thank you Toni and Sam Snow for joining us and helping prepare the Seapoint picnic. Children and Adults loved it!.

The Zama performance team enjoyed their afternoon picnic between shows with Andrew, Leanne, Toni & Sam Snow. Andrew & Leanne keep the dancers entertained back stage at Artscape.

December 11th & 12th End of Year Performances at Zama
Our two end of year performances at Zama went without a hitch as we welcomed our Chairman of the Board, Board members and Funders to Friday’s performance and the students’ family and friends to Saturday morning's repeat of the same show. We were once again thrilled to have Keith Mackintosh and guest dancers from the Cape Town City Ballet performing alongside us, as well as Zama graduate and now 3rd year Waterfront Theatre School student, Sonia Yabo on stage again. Zama is hugely grateful to CTCB’s Keith Mackintosh for bringing Company members Cleo Ames & Revil Yon to Zama and to the dancers themselves for their beautiful performance. It was also wonderful having former Zama student Sonia Yabo perform her beautiful solo choreographed by the Waterfront Theatre School’s Shona Brabant. Sonia dedicated this performance to her former Zama ballet teacher Miss Arlene and also to Mrs Wendy Ackerman who she thanks for her guidance & assistance over the last 3 years since graduating. Zama thanks Delia Sainsbury & the Waterfront Theatre School teachers for Sonia's excellent training and for allowing her to perform with us as well as Education without Borders for Sonia’s costumes and examination fees.

11th & 12th December 2015. Zama’s end of year performance was enjoyed by all.

December 14th School Outing to Ratanga Junction
Zama’s end of year school trip was at Ratanga Junction this year. The entire day which included lunch and transport for 37 students and 4 staff members was sponsored by Suzanne Annenberg at EXACT and Foschini.

The trip was promised to our students earlier this year, providing they came to all their ballet classes and took their Zama ballet exams. The students were split into groups. Leanne and I looked after the Grade 2's and 3's with Vuyo and Nomtha taking care of the Grade 1's. The seniors felt they were old enough to spend the day without teachers keeping an eye on them and disappeared the minute we got there. In the bus going home we heard how they'd been on the roller coaster over and over and how they had all thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Thank you Suzanne Annenberg, Head of EXACT and to Foschini for your generous gift, the students’ fun day out to Ratanga Junction.

December 17th Performance at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital
Our last day of the year was spent at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital where we took part in the Christmas Parade. Zama’s participation in this fun morning was initiated and organised by Leanne and included performance team members who were still in Cape Town during the holidays. Although performed on a small stage and in the blazing sun, the performance team pulled out all the stops and gave a fantastic performance. Thank you Leanne Voysey for organising this and thank you to the Zama students who gave of their time during the summer break.

December 17th. A short warm-up at Zama was followed by a performance at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital

Dear Leanne
On behalf of the management at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital and the Friends of the Children's Hospital Association, I am writing to sincerely thank you for participating in our annual Christmas Parade on Thursday, 17 December 2015. We deeply appreciate your enthusiastic contribution of time, energy and talent - your kindness really does make all the difference in helping us make the children’s stay in hospital a bit more bearable. We believe that physical and emotional healing work simultaneously and support such as yours is vital in helping us progress our services. Every year the parade gets bigger and better and we would not be able to pull it off without the generosity and support of organisations such as yours. We thank you for spending your precious time at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital. Please also convey our thanks to all your dancers and the rest of your team that were involved in making the day possible.
Season’s Greetings! Yours sincerely,
Angelique Jordaan

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October 2015

October 12th & 16th: Pantsula Classes with UCT’s Maxwell Rani
Senior lecturer of African dance and choreography at the UCT School of Dance, Maxwell Xolani Rani was Zama's guest Pantsula teacher for two afternoons this month.

UCT's African dance guru Maxwell Xolani Rani with Zama's performance team after energetic Pantsula classes held at the school during October.

What is Pantsula?
Pantsula is a highly energetic dance form that originated in the black townships of South Africa during the Apartheid era. It developed into a form of social commentary for black South Africans and has undergone several transformations with the country's changing political tides.

October 19th: New Tap Choreography Takes Shape
Peter Johnson's new tap choreography for next year's Showcase of Dance (March 2016) began this month. Based on the fast footed African dance style Pantsula our 'tapped' version is already taking shape. Let's hope our new work will be as big and as exciting as this past year’s tap number Point the Way, which was also created by Peter Johnson to Miriam Makeba’s iconic Pata Pata and Click song.

Zama's performance team and Peter Johnson having fun in tap class learning how to tap a Pantsula

October 27th – 30th: Sharing Recourses Cape Town City Ballet Move in for the Week
With ongoing demonstrations and strikes at South Africa’s universities, the Cape Town City Ballet who are based at the UCT School of Dance found themselves without a home. It seemed that offering the Company studio space in the mornings before our daily classes began was the right move to make and we were thrilled when the company's Executive Director Elizabeth Triegaardt accepted our invitation. We had our beautiful professional dance matts cleaned to perfection and brought all our ballet barres out of storage to accommodate the 30 strong dance company. It was by all accounts a successful collaboration between our two companies.

Professional dancers from South Africa and from around the world made Zama Dance School’s Township studio home for a week in October 2015

October 30th: Friday Afternoon Armed Robbery
In the words of our Foundation Manager: Leonora Sauls
"Dear All
Due to the temporary suspension of classes at UCT, Andrew kindly made the Zama facilities a vailable to the Cape Town City Ballet dancers. With increased activity at the school, the security levels were strengthened and the community around the school rallied to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity. Unfortunately, on Friday afternoon, two armed men managed to gain access through the front gate and one of the dancers was robbed of her handbag. This all happened outside the classroom.

Fortunately, no one was injured and all the security procedures were followed. We believe that the following of these procedures minimized the impact of this criminal activity. The police arrived promptly at the scene and after following police procedure, escorted the dancers out of the area.

When Andrew reported this to our office I advised him to close the school for the afternoon. We will make counseling services available next week and have written to CTCB to ask if they would like to access this service as well.
Leonora Sauls: Foundation Manager"

Elizabeth Triegaardt Wrote:
And just when we thought we were safe! Dancers leaving the ZAMA studio were held up at gunpoint today at about 13h30. Bags and cell phones were stolen. Thanks to Andrew Warth, Zama’s Director, who raised the alarm so quickly, Vuyokazi, Zama’s Administrative assistant, and all their staff who herded the dancers still in the studio to safety. I hope the Gugs community are proud of them and will continue to work at making their space a safe one.

We are in the process of upgrading security at the school to ensure a safe environment for our learners and staff.

* One of many kind messages of support from as far as the US
Dear Andrew, I've been thinking so much about you and your beautiful effort and gesture to invite CTCB into your studio -into your sacred space. After the horrible incident that I only read about, I hope that something is to be gleaned from the experience. The Gugulethu community and Zamanistas especially, denounced the violence. Largely because of your influence, they have pride (love that Gugulethu means "our pride") and they know what's right and wrong and they speak out about it. Your leadership - yours and the dancers -gives me much faith in humanity. By your example, little by little, living peacefully and productively side by side will persist. Please I beg you carry on the good work you are doing.
Love and respect. Kristine Elliot

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September 2015

A somewhat overwhelmed 6 year old Mpho Dumakude with older sister Monica and Miss Leanne after performing in her first ever eisteddfod and winning 1st place with her beautiful Tweety Bird dance.

Peter Johnsons Point the Way walked away with First Place Group Tap Trophy and number 1 place

We were thrilled with Chuma Nkumanda’s stunning ballet solo. 85% in the 11 to 12 yrs Classical solo section and a well-deserved Honours.

TDA Eisteddfod Results & Awards 2015

Group Dance – Any Age Category      
Point the way (Tap/Peter Johnson) Diploma 94.75%  
Me and you 2 (Classical Ballet/Leanne Voysey) Diploma 90%  
Heart Rhythms (Modern/ Leanne Voysey) Honours 82.63%  
Flip (Dean Bennewith) Honours 80%  
Love Hurts Honours 85.82%  
Set Demi Character 6&U      
Mpho Dumakude Diploma 91.32% 1st place
Set Demi Character - 9 to 10yrs of Age (B- Silver)      
Monica Dumakude Diploma 90.16% 2nd place 
Set Demi Character 11-12yrs of Age (B-Bronze)      
Zanele Lisa Honours 89.04% 1st place
Alulutho Siwela Honours 87.39% 3rd place
Own Choice Classical Set Solo - 11 to 12yrs of Age (Choreographed by Andrew Warth)      
Chuma Nkumanda Honours 85.5%  
Own Choice Classical Set Solo - 13 to 14yrs of Age (Choreographed by Andrew Warth)      
Timna Nofemele High Merit 74.65%  
Own Choice Classical Set Solo - 15 to 16yrs of Age (Choreographed by Daniel Rajna)      
Thimna Sitokisi Honours 88.83% 2nd place

Eisteddfod Trophy’s & Awards

Zama Dance School’s Leanne Voysey & Andrew Warth for 'their dedication and commitment to dance and dancers in an outreach programme'

Zama Dance School - "Point the Way"

September 16th: The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre
September 16 saw the much anticipated opening of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre's Cape Town season at Artscape Opera House. Through the Ailey's Outreach Program Zama was invited to watch a matinee performance which our students and staff enjoyed. With the majority of the Ailey dancers being of African heritage, it spoke directly and in a very powerful way to our students, dispelling myths about African built bodies' not making "dancers' bodies'". Zama bought tickets to two more performances and rewarded four of our performance team members, Asanda, Zikhona, Thimna and Lwazi with a second performance for their hard work at Zama during 2015.

The Zama performance team and staff with Kathy Robins Ackerman at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre’s matinee performance in Cape Town.
Thank you Kathy Robins Ackerman for the Alvin Ailey programs and sweets at the Alvin Ailey matinee

Senior Zama students, Thimna Sitokisi & Lwazi Sapula enjoyed a second night at the ballet watching the Alvin Ailey’s Program B ...

... Zikhona Papiyane with Asanda Mehana the following day

September 19th: An Alvin Ailey Workshop at Zama Dance School
On Saturday morning, the Zama Dance School performance team was put through their paces by members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre when they presented a master class to the eager young Gugulethu dancers at the school. Ranging in age from 10 to 16 the dancers were more than up to the challenge and didn’t seem even slightly phased by some of the technically challenging routines.

In addition to the hour-long master class, presented by Alvin Ailey's Vernard J Gilmore, the dancers and delighted audience were treated to a display of various dance routines by the incredibly talented Alvin Ailey dancers, before the Zama dancers changed into their costumes for the tap-dance number, Point the Way, and proceeded to bring the house down. The dance went on to win first prize later that day at the eisteddfod, where the adjudicators praised the team, not only for being technically brilliant, but great entertainers too.

Alvin Ailey's Vernard J Gilmore keeps delighted young audience members company at Zama Dance School

The Zama Dance School performance team are put through their paces by the Alvin Ailey's Vernard J Gilmore

Food and drinks for over 200 children and the Alvin Ailey team were supplied by the Ackerman family Foundation

September 25, 26, 27th WPDTA Spring Workshop
Five of our dancers had the privilege of attending the Western Province Dance Teachers Association (WPDTA) Spring Workshop from 25th to 27th September. Master classes were given by the internationally recognized ballet teacher David Peden. The Zama students benefited immensely from the two and a half hour ballet classes. The standard of dancing was high and gave our students the opportunity to compare techniques and standards – a tough, but necessary part of any dancers training. Body conditioning with Pat Gush and Contemporary Fusion classes with Lorcia Cooper were also included in the workshop, giving the dancers a lot of food for thought.

Mr Peden's class was in line with Zama's teaching, although a little advanced for some of our students. I was pleasantly surprised to see who he noticed in class from the Zama group, but more interestingly who he didn't. Something I'd really like to incorporate in Zama’s training is Drama/Musical Theatre and vocal training. These all encourage communication, and not that of the screaming and shouting kind in the dressing rooms. All art forms are a means of communication, something our students will have to master one day whether in the arts or not. The five dancers who took part in this workshop have all expressed their desire to dance professionally in the future. It’s a privilege watching them grow into the fine young artists I’m sure they will one day be.

David Peden ARAD Dip PDTC Ballet Teacher, Covent Garden

David trained at The Royal Ballet School and started with The Royal Ballet in 1979. In 1985 he was promoted to soloist and after eight years with the company and dancing many principal roles, he moved on to work with the National Ballet of Canada, Pacific Northwest Ballet (Seattle), British Ballet Columbia (Vancouver) and English National Ballet. After graduating with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Dance Professional Dancers Teachers Course, he taught at Elmhurst Ballet School, The Hammond School and the Royal Academy of Dance as well as international freelance teaching. David has also worked as Ballet Master with Singapore Dance Theatre and spent two years as Ballet Master with the Ankara State Ballet Company

Timna Nofemele corrected by the Royal Ballet School’s David Peden.

Asanda works with a partner in a Pat Gush Body Conditioning class

Lorcia Cooper with Zama after her Contemporary Fusion class.

WPDTA Secretary Toni Snow with the Zama team during lunch. Thank you Toni for supplying hotdogs, crisps and refreshments for the Zama students' lunch.

September 29th: Zama Performance at Tembaletu LSEN School Gugulethu School for Learners with Special Education Needs
Tembaletu is one of only four special needs schools in the Western Cape offering education to Xhosa speaking children in their mother tongue. It is one of two that caters for learners with physical disabilities and is the only one that offers mainstream curriculum.

They cater for learners across education districts and bus in learners from Gugulethu, Langa, Nyanga, Philippi, Delft, Mfuleni, Khayelitsha and from as far as Paarl, Stellenbosch, Da Noon, and Hout Bay. As a result Tembaletu has a school hostel catering for 40 learners and it was to this lively group of youngsters Zama performed for on the 29th.

Our 40 minute performance was everything we’d performed at the eisteddfod the previous week.

On arrival we were told our contact person had left and that there was no one there to show us how the sound system worked. We fortunately had our portable CD player with us, but Tembaletu had also forgot to mention the stage was being repaired and couldn’t be used. With our audience waiting, and not wanting to let them down, we performed the whole show on the slippery auditorium tiles.

One can't be sure of what they enjoyed most; Zama’s dancing or the slipping and sliding on polished tiles. Either way, there was plenty laughter and joyful faces.

Dear Vuyokazi and the Zama Dance Team
I would like to apologize once again for the miscommunication between us. Thank you so much for the performance that you have rendered for our hostel kids. They thoroughly enjoyed the performance. We hope to see Zama Dance Team again soon.
Kind Regards, Dylan
Tembaletu School Gugulethu

Timna Nofemele, Tshepang Shumba & Chuma Nkumanda outside Tembaletu School Gugulethu

September 7th: Zama Dance School Graduate Sonia Yabo
It was such a pleasure to see Zama graduate Sonia Yabo on stage this month. Taking part in the Waterfront Theatre School’s annual performance, this young lady has improved in leaps and bounds. Another year before she graduates and if her performance in Make Your Move is anything to go by I’m confident she’ll go far. Thank you Mrs Ackerman for your generous support with Sonia’s school fees and thank you Education Without Borders for covering Sonia’s Ballet/Contemporary/Tap and Musical Theatre exams and for supporting her daily transport between Gugulethu and the Waterfront Theatre School in town.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Ackerman for helping me fund my studies, giving me the opportunity to fulfil my dreams in becoming a performer. Education without Borders, I would like to thank you for paying my daily travel costs from the townships and my examination fees. If it was not for your help and funding my end of year exams, I would not have the privilege to progress to the next level. Therefore I would like to say thank you and may you never get tired, and to also do the same for other students like me.
With grateful thanks,
Sonia Yabo
September 15th 2015

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July & August 2015

With three weeks of school holidays during July, our afternoons were unusually quiet. This didn’t stop Zama’s performance team from working in the mornings with Leanne, Dean Bennewith (our eisteddfod guest choreographer) and myself on class work and rehearsals. With 4 new group pieces, a number of solos and a brand new pas de deux to prepare, there was no time to spare.

Dean Bennewith works with the Zama performance team during the July school break

August 1st: Ballet Shoe Fittings & Excel Training
Saturday morning, Andrew and Leanne drove the performance team to the ballet shop in Rondebosch for their ballet shoe fittings. Each dancer received a pair of white canvas ballet shoes which were then painted to match their skin color. The dancers were excited to have found a ballet book with photos of their ballet teachers in their youth.

Timna fits his new shoes at the ballet shop ...

... whilst the others look at photos in a South African ballet book

August 11th: Thembelathu School for the Disabled
Vuyo and Leanne met with Thembelathu's Director Mr. Pather and discussed possible performance dates for a performance at their school. Thembelathu is a school for physically disabled children and is located in the township very close to Zama in Gugulethu. Those you do not board there wake as early as 4am to begin their long journey to the school. These children are susceptible to abuse on their long journey, while also facing exhaustion from their long days. If we can add some joy to their days we’d very much like to be involved.

August 15th: Catalysis Foundation for Health Director, Jill Winter
We welcomed the American Programme Director of the Catalysis Foundation for Health, Jill Winter to our studio on the 15th. The Foundation is "dedicated to facilitating the efficient discovery, development, manufacture and distribution of modern diagnostic tests to address life-threatening infectious diseases and chronic conditions that are endemic in the developing world". Working with the Lung Institute and at Tygerberg Hospital for a week, Jill enjoyed a contrasting afternoon at Zama with her camera.

Spotted in the ballet book: Mr Andrew

An oasis in a complicated world.
Andrew and Leanne with Zama Dance School do an amazing job in Gugulethu; If only I could clone them and set them up everywhere where kids need a helping hand to see them through their surroundings. The photos are not sharp, but still I think they capture the exuberance one feels in this studio. The pictures of the outside are few; I saw much but did now want to raise my camera to capture the roasting sheep heads or the women going to the onsite cemetery, the chaotic movement of people everywhere, stray dogs and debris.
Jill Winter.

August 15th: Zama’s Thimna Sitokisi with Jill Winter

Zama's Grade 2 students photographed by Jill Winter

Unexpected trip to the UK proved fruitful
During an unexpected brief trip to the UK I was fortunate to be invited to the Russian Ballet Society AGM in Battersea, London. Spending the afternoon with former class mates, teachers’, movers and shakers within the Russian Ballet Society and British dance world I was able to secure a number of summer school places for Zama students in the future as well as talk about our students, their challenges and their strengths and hopes.

A 'I couldn't resist' selfie after the 2015 Russian Ballet Society AGM in Battersea, London

June 2015

June 6th: Dean Bennewith
Dean Bennewith is a former dancer with the Play House Theatre in Durban and now a celebrated producer/choreographer with works performed on the corporate stage as well music and dance reviews around the country. Dean’s first group piece for Zama is called Flip and is inspired by a recent performance of Swan Lake by the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre at Artscape. Dean says Flip will combine the clear controlled lines of classical ballet and the energy of hip-hop which he says the Zama dancers perform well

June 6th: Inspired by Zama's energy, Durban choreographer Dean Bennewith working on Flip

June 20th: Dancers love Dogs
Zama opened this year's fundraising gala, Dancers Love Dogs at Artscape with Point the Way. The Zama students were beautifully behaved back stage and performed with such professionalism. This no doubt contributed to the positive review from Klaus Warschkow and the feedback we received from Dancers love Dogs Producer, Brigitte-Reeve Taylor.

June 20: Dancers Love Dogs with Zama at its best

In the Press
"Bravo to all involved. In my humble opinion the best showcase of dance in Cape Town yet. For me there were many favourites. Zama Dance School amazed me by being able to push Peter Johnson’s tap number "Point the way" to new heights. I had seen the work during the WPDTA and D4D showcases but last night it was so clean it was incredible"
Klaus Warschkow

The Producer "Dear Andrew and everyone at Zama Dance School
I don't even know where to begin to thank you sufficiently for your amazing and enormous contribution to our Dancers Love Dogs show. You were absolutely fantastic and the show was just spectacular and stunning. I cannot keep up with all the wonderful messages of praise!!! Thank you from my heart. We cannot do this without you - the teachers/ choreographers and performers. The effect from this show will assist at least 1500 animals in the townships to have a better life - free of continuous breeding and a chance to live a healthier life. I can only applaud you for your time, dedication and commitment. I am filled with gratitude, that you all share the passion and love for animals. "
Brigitte-Reeve Taylor

Friday 26th: New Stove and Farewell to Tony Draga
We bought a new stove for Nomtha in the kitchen, which will help tremendously when we add mince and pasta to the Feeding Scheme menu.

Zama's Feeding Scheme queen Nomtha Mzongwana with her new stove

Andrew Warth, Melanie Stark, Leanne Voysey and Vuyokazi Rubuxa joined the Ackerman Family Foundation team at Herbert Baker house in Kenilworth Friday afternoon to bid farewell to Tony Draga who retired at the end of June, after many years with the foundation and particularly with the Zama Dance School Trust.

Tony Draga’s farewell at Herbert Baker house with Andrew Warth and Melanie Stark

Saturday 27th: Invitation to CAPA’s Final Dress Rehearsal
Members of our Performance Team were thrilled at the invitation to the CAPA studios in Westlake for Debbie Turner’s final dress rehearsal of Jilted, before its premier at this year’s National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

2014 CAPA graduate, Mthuthuzeli November (center) with Zama Dance School students at CAPA, after a rehearsal of Jilted.

Zama's Performance Team enjoyed an afternoon with former Zama student Mantu Jakavula working on Stage Projection.

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May 2015

May 1st: School Outing
Zama's performance team was treated to a day on the road visiting historic Cape Town landmarks. The day was sponsored by the New York based company Elevated Destinations who had visited Zama during the summer with James Fernie from Uthando SA. Three of the older students were each given an area or landmark to study and with a R400 prize as stake, all delivered well prepared talks on their designated place.

Fifteen year old Lwazi received the most amount of votes for his 'brilliant knowledge and presentation' of Table Mountain and the Cable Car. Thimna's False Bay and Nkulie's Cape Point were also well researched and presented, so they each received a R200 prize.

The performance team on top of Table Mountain

Visiting Penguins at Boulders Beach

May 2nd: Alvin Ailey
We were excited to hear from Cape Town’s Mannie Manim the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater would be visiting South Africa again in September and that this time the tour would include Cape Town. On Saturday morning, Dacquiri Smittick, Director of Production, and Kimberley Watson, Senior Development Director, visited Zama as part of their quest to find suitable venues for their outreach program during the tour.

The Zama Dance School Performance Team performed Point the Way for Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre visitors, Dacquiri Smittick & Kimberley Watson.

15 & 16th: May Dancers for Dancers
Zama joined the Theatre Dance Association and many Cape Town based dance studios for this year's Dancers for Dancers at Artscape Opera House. This annual dance highlight is a benefit performance for the Cape Town City Ballet. We placed and lit our tap, Point the Way, on Friday 15th before Saturday morning's FDR (Final Dress Rehearsal) and the performance at 8pm. It was a long day for all, with a 7:30 am meeting time at Zama and returning home after dark. Andrew came in early and made breakfast for the dancers. The performance team gave one of their best performances ever, to the audience’s delight. I was extremely proud of the whole team, dancers and staff.

7:30 am breakfast at Zama for the performance team before their Final Dress Rehearsal and performance of Point the Way at Artscape Opera House.

Final Dress rehearsal

19th May: St Petersburg Ballet Theatre
Zama was given 4 complimentary tickets to the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre production of Swan Lake. Leanne Voysey and I both chose one student each to take, based on their performance and attitude to dance as a whole and classes at Zama. Andrew invited Thimna Sitokisi and Leanne, Tshepang Shumba. It was a lovely evening spent with them both and I couldn’t help notice that they spoke to each other in English. When questioned about this, their reply was that it would be rude to speak in Xhosa when the teachers wouldn’t understand it. Leanne and I were very impressed with that. Thimna and Tshepang loved the performance and were so excited when we bumped into Adele Blank on our way to the car.

Thimna & Tshepang with their favorite South African dance icon Adele Blank at the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre's opening night of Swan Lake

22nd May: Meryl Lodge
Andrew and Zama Trustee Melanie Stark met with Meryl Lodge, a PhD candidate in anthropology from the University of Minnesota on Friday morning to discuss how we might assist her with research for her dissertation on South African ballet and politics. Knowing the importance of the Zama Dance School to the community here in Gugulethu, she asked to come spend time at the school and observe first-hand.

Assisting our class, PhD candidate in anthropology from University of Minnesota Meryl Lodge

Also During May * Letters went to the parents of our Friday afternoon Introductory class when 2 of our young students were left at the school for hours and one of them was still waiting when we locked the school up in the evening.
* The electric fence around the school was repaired twice.
* Plumbers were called in to repair student and staff toilets
* A children's playground has opened next to Zama, sharing our perimeter fence.

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April 2015

April 13 – 25th: The LEAP team from Saint Mary’s College, California spent two exciting weeks at Zama.
LEAP, a Bachelor of Arts degree program at Saint Mary's College, California specifically designed for current and former professional dancers from leading ballet, modern and ethnic dance companies as well as musical theater, television, and film.

This year we welcomed Tammy Silva-Pessagno, or as her students back home call her "Miss Tammy," to the Zama junior school. Tammy began her own dance training at the age of 7 and has not stopped dancing in one form or another since. Whether as a performer, choreographer, or teacher it has always been a part of her life and she said she was thrilled, grateful and honored to have had this wonderful opportunity to be part of dance, South Africa.

"It's all for the best" from the musical Godspell was taught to the Zama juniors in just 5 rehearsals. Miss Tammy soon became the new Zama hero.

Working with Zama’s senior students this year was Lara Tant. Born in Philadelphia, Lara began her dance training at the YMCA. She then went on and trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC and completed her professional training in the Trainee Program at the Joffrey Ballet School. Lara fitted in perfectly at Zama and was very popular with staff and students.

Showing how it’s done, Lara Tant with Zama’s Senior Students

"I had the wonderful privilege to travel to Cape Town from New York City where I am a ballet teacher and dancer. I came with my college program, LEAP, under the direction of Kristine Elliott and Mark Baird. I was so grateful for the opportunity to teach for two weeks at Zama Dance. The Zama students were respectful, incredibly well behaved, disciplined, hardworking, passionate, driven, and loving individuals. They demonstrated a hunger for dance and a quality of movement that can only have come from the supremely talented Director of the school, Andrew Warth and the lovely and talented ballet mistress, Leanne Voysey. The love, care and hard work Andrew and Leanne have poured into these dancers was immediately evident to me upon our first day. The children soaked up the new material and learned complex choreography quickly, performing it fantastically. Only well trained and well-loved children can thrive when so much is asked of them and Zama dance provides them with exactly the tools they needed to do so. The children are also aided by Vuyokazi Rubuxa, who was a wonderful minder and helpful translator for us. Zama Dance School is a gem and will always hold a place in my heart. The facility is incredible, perfect dance floor, clean, safe and kept in perfect order with a delightful space for performing. It has achieved an incredible level of artistic excellence in a place where it is sorely needed. "
Lara Tant

Combined performance of Variations for Z with Zama Dance School & Dance for All’s Rural Outreach Programme

Full house at Zama with dancers from CAPA, DFA & SAEP

A Saturday morning repeat performance of Variations for Z at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts, Westlake with Zama Dance School & Dance for All’s Rural Outreach Programme

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March 2015

March 4th: Zama’s Bus Driver Andrew Petersen Injured
On his way home after a long day at Zama, Andrew Peterson’s train to the Northern Suburbs was bombarded with sticks & rocks by a mob of angry youths. Stuck near an open window in the full carriage, a rock flew in, crushing his thumb. Bleeding and shaken, he was cared for by his fellow passengers until his station. The following day he had surgery and although keen to return to work, his surgeon has booked him off until 20 April with strict instructions not to drive until his return. Andrew Warth has taken on his duties.

March 4th: Zama bus driver Andrew Petersen injured on the train home from work

March 8th to 12th: A Busy Birthday Month at Zama
March is birthday month at Zama with Leanne Voysey on the 8th, Mr Ackerman on the 10th and Andrew on the 12th. Mr Ackerman bought cake for the whole school which the students enjoyed after class and Andrew was treated to a surprise birthday cake with balloons and beautiful singing from the students.

Introductory class and Grade one enjoy Mr Ackerman’s birthday cake after class in the Zama garden.

Balloons and cake on Andrew's 50th

March 14th: Cape Town City Ballet's Open Day at UCT School of Dance
Zama took part in Cape Town City Ballet’s annual Open Day on Saturday 14th March. This action packed day, considered a highlight on the ballet calendar, gives a behind the scenes glimpse into the daily life of a dancer. Zama showcased the first year of training in a young dancer’s life and looked back at 2014 highlights, Zama's 25th anniversary year. Works were performed by senior students in the hour long demonstration, conducted by Leanne Voysey and Andrew Warth.

Later that day, Zama performed Peter Johnson's Blurred Lines in 2 Cape Town City Ballet studio concerts.

2014 dance highlights were performed by senior Zama students in a demonstration conducted by Leanne Voysey and Andrew Warth

Zama's Blurred Lines performed at both performances at Cape Town City Ballet’s annual Open Day on Saturday 14th March

Junior Zama Dance School students meet the Cape Town City Ballet professionals.

March 19th to 22nd: Western Province Dance Teachers Association (WPDTA)
Showcase of Dance

Zama’s new tap piece called Point the Way made its debut at the WPDTA’s Showcase of Dance during March. With a strong African feel exploring traditional South African dance styles, this is without a doubt choreographer Peter Johnson’s best. Set to iconic South African singer, Miriam Makeba’s Click Song and Pata Pata, Point the Way was a definite highlight and crowd pleaser. The Zama performance team were on top form for all four performances and one could feel their sense of pride.

As always, the Zama faculty played an important role for Showcase but this one came with added complications. The school bus driver Andrew Petersen was out of action and important stage rehearsals at Artscape were scheduled in the afternoons straight after school. With Zama students at high schools in various Cape Town suburbs, careful planning was essential.

Students had to be fetched at their school gates in Langa, Maitland and Wynberg by myself in the Zama bus and Leanne in her car. Fortunately, everyone was where they said they’d be and without a hitch, we made it to Artscape in time for both stage rehearsals. Our students ate their supper in the bus driving back to their homes in Gugulethu which on one occasion was organised and paid for by Toni Snow.

March 19th: Zama performs to Miriam Makeba’s Click Song in Point the Way at Artscape

Back stage with the Zama boys, choreographer Peter Johnson and Zama director Andrew Warth

Nkulie Sizani and Thimna Sitokisi in Zama’s Point the Way

Back stage with the Zama girls; Vuyokazi Rubuxa, Leanne Voysey and Peter Johnson.

Dear Andrew and Leanne: Your dancers are a true reflection of the amount of work and dedication you put into them. Beautifully presented, perfectly behaved and well mannered. They are incredible dancers and awesome little people. Looking forward to having them at Showcase 2016
Western Province Dance Teachers Association

*I have seen a number of performances by Zama Dance School in the past but this African and Tap Fusion choreographed by Peter Johnson is probably my favourite yet. Good and fun vibe. A real crowd pleaser.
Klaus Warschkow : capetowndance

*Beautifully trained and lovely costumes. Well done Zama Dance School and your top tap choreographer. So very proud of you. Keep moving with your awesome stuff.
Ricardo Koopman : Ricardo's Modern Dance Studio
*An awesome performance, Zama dancers and Zama Dance School rocks. You never cease to amaze! Zama has done a great job in grooming our kids. Thanks for the great work and support and walking with our children through their life's journeys.
Loretta Rooiland : Proud Zama Mum

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January 2015

January 26th: Zama Opens for 2015 Registration.
January 26th, Zama opened its doors for 2015 registration which was again coordinated by the school’s secretary, Vuyokazi Rubuxa. During the same week, the studio was prepared for classes and shopping was done for Zama’s Feeding Scheme. Launched in 2010, Zama’s Feeding Scheme ensures all students receive lunch after their class. Prepared daily on the school’s premises, lunch consists of sandwiches with assorted fillings, hotdogs or beef burgers with chips; fruit and either juice or milk.
January 28th, classes began with 108 students registered.
Intro Class x 53
Grade 1 x 19
Grade 2 x 17
Grade 3 x 10
Grade 4 x 4
Combined Senior Class x 5

Happy to be back, 9 year old Grade 2 students, Ikho Gxekwa, Owethu Jonas & Liyema Bandla with Andrew Warth 2015 registration day.

January 28th: Zama welcomes new Grade 1's
2015 classes began on 28 Jan when the students were fitted with their new dance uniforms and ballet shoes. Squeezing little feet into leather ballet shoes on a hot summer’s day was no easy feat, but it provided Zama an opportunity to talk about grooming and hygiene with it's fledgling dancers.

Early days floor work, Zama’s 2015 Grade 1 class learn the position of the arms with teacher Leanne Voysey

Grade 1 students - average age eight - with ballet teacher Leanne Voysey

January 30th: Tap Rehearsals with Peter Johnson for WPDTA’s Showcase at Artscape in March
Tap rehearsals began in January to complete Zama’s new tap piece, Point the Way for Showcase of Dance at Artscape in March. Showcase of Dance is an annual dance event which provides an opportunity for dance schools and studios such as Zama to perform on a professional stage. The Showcase of Dance rules are that the piece being performed may not have been publicly performed and it should comprise of 10 or more dancers. Zama’s new tap piece called, Point the Way is to the well-known Pata Pata song as well as the iconic South African singer, Miriam Makeba’s Click Song.

February 6th: Ruth & Cecil Hershler, Founding Members of Education without Borders visit Zama
Founding members of Canadian based Education without Borders, Ruth & Cecil Hershler visited Zama with the news that we would receive two R10, 000 donations during the 2015/16 financial year to assist graduated Zama students to continue their tertiary studies - such as Sonia Yabo now in her 3rd year at the Waterfront Theatre School & Candice Dongwe at the UCT School of Dance. It is Education without Borders mandate to “assist educational facilities in disadvantaged regions of the world” which now includes the Zama Dance School in Gugulethu and we are extremely grateful for their assistance with exam fees, daily commuting costs in and out of the townships and study materials.

February 14th: Cape Town City Ballet Principle Dancer Daniel Rajna gives the Zama Performance Team Class & Repertoire

February 21st: Former NAPAC Ballet Dancer Dean Bennewith gives Zama students and former Zama pupil Mamela Nyamza a strenuous 2hr workout

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