Artistic dancer Lulu Mlangeni recognised

Lulu Mlangeni has been named Standard Bank Young Artist.
Lulu Mlangeni has been named Standard Bank Young Artist.

Choreographer and dancer Lulu Mlangeni's dedication and compassion for her work has paid off after she received the biggest recognition in her career.

The enterprising artistic dancer was named the Standard Bank Young Artist in dance (SBYA) for 2020 last week.

She was named a winner alongside musician Nthato Mokgata, fine artist Blessing Ngobeni, jazz singer Sisonke Xonti and theatre maker Jefferson Tshabalala.

As a winner of the prestigious accolade, she joins a list of talented stars who have shone since the awards were started in 1981. The SBYA is presented by National Arts Festival Committee to emerging young South African artists who have demonstrated exceptional ability in their chosen fields but have not yet achieved national exposure and acclaim.

Speaking to Time Out, Mlangeni said it has not sunk in yet that she was the winner. "I am beyond excited. I am honoured and feel proud to win the SBYA.

"I can't believe that I have joined the team of elites in the country. It has been my wish to receive the award but it finally came. I have worked hard for it."

For the Meadowlands-born, Soweto, dancer whose journey began at Dorah Dance School in Zone 10, the award does not come as a surprise.

Mlangeni understands well that overnight success does not exist in the dance world.

She has performed nationally and internationally in places like Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Switzerland, Brazil, France, US and Germany.

Mlangeni was awarded the Dance Umbrella award for Most Outstanding Female Dancer in 2007 and won Season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance? in 2010.

In 2014, she became the first recipient of Sophie Mgcina Emerging Voice award, which is part of Naledi Theatre Awards.

Mlangeni explains: "Dance is more than a performative act. It's a vehicle for healing. Not only for myself but for others too. As a nation, we're going through a lot and dance is that vehicle to open up conversation."

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