A new star on the dancing firmament

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

The country has a new dancer in Thabo Rapoo, winner of the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance.

This winner joins a growing list of local dancers who are currently doing well.

I mean, who does not know of Moeketsi Koena, Boycie Cekwana, Dada Masilo, Kitty Phetla and Penelope Tlholoe today?

They have become household names in dance.

And dancers are now starting to get the recognition that they deserve.

Rapoo wants to use this opportunity to create a platform for his fellow performers.

"To be honoured in one's own country must rate extremely high in anyone's books," Rapoo says.

"And with this one, a one-of-a-kind award in South Africa, I feel truly blessed and it means a lot to me."

"I want to thank Standard Bank for the good they are doing for South African audiences and for the arts community in general."

Mandie van der Spuy, head of arts and jazz sponsorship at Standard Bank, has this to say: "As a bank we are committed to sponsoring the arts in South Africa and believe the awards play a vital role in nurturing talent.

"Standard Bank's sponsorship of the Young Artist Award over 25 years has contributed to the development of our country's up-and-coming artists.

"We have observed the various winners develop over the years and we are proud of these results and of our committed role in developing South African talent."

Stripped of all the PR nonsense this award means a lot to young artists because it gives them an opportunity to create works for a discerning audience.

As part of their prize each of the winners will be featured on the main programme of the 2009 National Arts Festival in Grahamstown from July 2 to 11.

This platform gives them the opportunity to present a new innovative piece of work that audiences will see for the first time.

Last year's winner of this category, Dada Masilo, created a work that caused ripples at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival this year.

Titled Romeo and Juliet, it was the talk of the festival.

But for now we will have to wait and see whether Rapoo will match the standard that has been set by previous winners such as Masilo at the Grahamstown festival.

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