Press: CAPE DANCE COMPANY for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown 2 & 3 July 2016

The contemporary classical Cape Dance Company, under the artistic direction of Debbie Turner, celebrates its 21st anniversary this year. The company will present 5 performances of A Thousand Shepherds, that ran earlier this year at Artscape to great acclaim, at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, on 2 and 3 July only. This season marks the first time that the company will be presented on the Main programme after 21 years of performing on the Fringe.


The season, sponsored principally by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NDTLF) most notably features the African première of Spanish/UK choreographer, José Agudo's acclaimed work, A Thousand Shepherds.  


A searing exploration of humanity, A Thousand Shepherds is inspired by the concept of pilgrimage. Originally created on the company Ace Dance & Music in Birmingham in the UK to the music of Vincenzo Lamagna, the tone of the work is underpinned by the influence of a period of study in an Indian ashram, bringing to it a mystical and mysterious feel. Agudo's work is poignantly articulate and reflective, creating an aura of sacredness and intense spirituality. Costume design is by Kimie Nakano. 


José Agudo is the Artistic Director of his own project-based dance company and rehearsal director for world-renowned, acclaimed British choreographer, Akram Khan. Agudo's multi-disciplinary pedigree started with the study of flamenco dance, which has influenced and crafted much of the rhythmical virtuosity of this work which has been on numerous companies worldwide. 

The celebratory season also includes outstanding CDC works that have carved a reputation of excellence for the company. Featuring a re-staging of Christopher Huggins’ thrilling award-winning Enemy Behind the Gates, the cast of 24 will showcase the lightening-fast choreography which explodes on the stage in a roller coaster ride of charged emotion delivered by breathtaking athleticism and power of the dancers. 


Interspersed between these two powerful works, will be a solo, Convivencia, choreographed and performed by Mthuthuzeli November, another outstanding young dancer trained by Dance for All in Xolani and the Cape Academy of Performing Arts, and a former CDC member as well.  He returns from London where he is currently a member of Ballet Black, to perform this solo in addition to Enemy Behind the Gates. 


Other featured artists in this season include Louisa Talbot, Elzanne Crause, Ipeleng Merafe, Marlin Zoutman, and an excellent supporting cast.  Londiwe Khoza, a Cape Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA) graduate and a member of CDC since 2011, will once again be part of the production before leaving for overseas.  Khoza, who was recently announced as a winner of the Rolex Mentor prize for dance, will take up a year of intense, one-to-one collaboration with a renowned choreographer in the 2016 – 2017 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.  Lighting design throughout the production is by Wilhelm Disbergen.


A Thousand Shepherds will be performing at the Transnet Great Hall in Grahamstown on Saturday 2 July at 10am, 3pm and 8pm and on Sunday 3 July at 3pm and 7pm.  Booking is via 0860 002 004 or online at  and


Cape Dance Company is one of South Africa’s most highly sought-after dance companies. Blending neo-classical and contemporary dance styles with a hybrid flavour of African fusion, CDC creates and performs worldwide original works by South African choreographers and presents works by international choreographers to give the company and its growing audiences exposure to the global dance world.


Led by founding Artistic Director Debbie Turner and supported by an ensemble of dancers who never fail to captivate through their pure athleticism, humanity, physical expression and breath-taking virtuosity, CDC has been in high demand since its inception in 1995. CDC presents approximately 40 performances per year across South Africa and has toured internationally to Europe, the USA and Asia.


Celebrating 21 years in 2016, CDC has delivered over 350 performances reaching more than 40,000 people and these numbers continue to grow.


A Thousand Shepherds is also supported by Fruit & Veg City.



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