Pantsula dance is commonly known as a traditional township dance and mostly used as entertainment instrument amongst township youngsters.
However, it is a well-known fact that Pantsula Dance is more than just an entertaining pastime for most. With a rich history deeply associated with music, lifestyle and fashion, the artform is one that is both revered and kept alive by those use it to get ahead in life.
As posted on Wikipedia: Pantsula is a syncopated, quick-stepping, low to the ground form of dance which evokes the urban street culture of which it is a part. It is performed by groups of dancers who practice together for many hours each week. It provides a powerful, stylized form of expression. As one pantsula dancer describes it, “we have drive, we are one, we have power, we are young, strong and quick, we have our own style and we are competitive.”
Gomora is one of the oldest townships in the country and it is the one that is mostly associated with pantsula dance. We check 3 dance groups from the township that are keeping this artform alive.
Urban Pantsula Dancers:
Urban Pantsula Dancers is a Pantsula group which was established in 2017 consisting of 11 members. It was founded by Thabang Ramphisa Milton Tshabalala, Doctor Mabunda and Aphelele Ngqulunga. The main aim for the conception of the group was to keep the youngsters away from bad company and substance abuse. The four were later joined by the seven other youngsters who went through auditions to become members of the group.
They have won countless major competitions with the most notable one being SABC 1’s Stumbo Stomp Amapantsula competition where they walked away with R20 000.
They have aspirations to travel the world and showcase their township flavour to the global community.
Another Gomora based group, Via Vyndal have had their fair share of the international stage. In 2017, the group was invited to perform in New York at the US premiere of The Children’s Monologues.
The group consists of Sandile Ngqulunga, Kagiso Ngqulunga, Daniel Chaka and Bafana Binde. They are made up entirely of youths from Alexandra, the troupe members have been dancing together for eight years. And in addition, they have all studied dance in order to perfect their knowledge of an activity they used to do only for fun. They frequently dance at commercial events, private and corporate parties, as well as dance shows.
Alex Rockstars Pantsula:
Alex Rockstars is a pantsula dance crew based in Alexandra, Johannesburg. The dance crew is made up of Sipho Zulu, Katlego Malapa and Lerato Tshabalala. They have SABC 1’s Stumbo Stomp Amapantsula competition 3 times before and with the competition they proved that dancing, especially pantsula dance can be taken seriously.
In September 2019, the group combined efforts with Mzansi Ballet to bring us Bengingazi, a pantsula and ballet story told through both artfroms. Bengingazi is a celebration and fusion of classical ballet, pantsula, flamenco and contemporary dance.