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Oscar Buthelezi

Oscar Buthelezi (2019)


Oscar Buthelezi, born in South Africa, began dancing in 1998 with youth groups in the township of Vosloorus. As an adolescent, he was involved in popular South African TV productions such as YO TV Groove and Jika maJika.

He joined trailblazing South African contemporary dance company Moving Into Dance (MID) in 2010. Oscar toured extensively with works choreographed by Robyn Orlin, Jenifer Dallas and Sonia Radebe, Jessica Nupen and Sunnyboy Motau. Oscar performed in We Are Still Marching in collaboration with the Playhouse Dance Company and toured Moscow and St Petersburg as part of the Russian / South African Season.

He choreographed and performed in a duet, Road, which scooped a double award at the Kurt Jooss International Award for Choreography in 2016, becoming the first African to win this prestigious award. Road was also staged at Impact No.1 and Impact No.2. Oscar then choreographed ILEMBE, telling the story of Shaka Zulu; the work was performed at the National Arts Festival and the Soweto Theatre, and Oscar was nominated for Best Original Choreography for the show. In 2017, Oscar choreographed Stuck Souls and performed in Sunnyboy Motau’s I Am Not. He assisted Jessica Nupen in choreographing Romeo & Juliet, Rebellion & Johannesburg for its European tour and performances in Italy and Germany. Oscar was honoured by the Premier in his home city, Ekurhuleni, with an Award for Youth in Service Excellence; he was also nominated for an ImpACT Award for dance and choreography by the Arts and Culture Council of South Africa.

In July 2017, Oscar performed in a collaborative piece between three powerhouse South African dance companies: Joburg Ballet, MID and Vuyani Dance Theatre. With MID he performed in feathers….. at the Norwegian In2It Festival, and later appeared in Motau’s collaborative work incorporating five dancers each from MID, Compassion 2 Dance (based in Sunndalsøra) and M&R Regional Dance Company, Kompaniet. Oscar was commissioned by Bernard Jay Productions to choreograph the musical The Color Purple in 2018, winning the 2019 Naledi Award for original choreography for his work on the musical. He was then contracted to choreograph the local and international tour for the world-renowned Ladysmith Black Mambazo in late 2019.

In June 2019, Oscar competed in the prestigious 33rd International Choreographic Competition Hannover, with his short work Road.  He scored a ‘hat trick’ by winning the Jury Award for Best Choreographer, the Audience Choice Award and the Tanja Liedtke Foundation Scholarship granting him an artistic residency at the Australian Dance Theatre in Adelaide. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Oscar has to date been unable to travel to Australia to take up this artistic residency in person.