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Khumbhula Dance Theater

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Gumboot Dance
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Khumbula Dance TheaterKhumbula Dance Theatre troop is the newest project by Thamsanqa Hlatywayo, Matome Some, and Gideon Mlungisi Bendile. These three performers have collaborated in numerous works, including performances with the Uzulu Dance Theater. Uzulu performed in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival in 1984 and 1986.

Thamsanqa Hlatywayo learned traditional dance and music growing up in South Africa. A performer, choreographer, drummer and a cappella singer, he enjoys sharing aspects of South African culture with people of other national and ethnic backgrounds. Thamsanqa was Co-founder, Artistic Director, and performer with Uzulu Dance Theater of South Africa, and has choreographed works for Dimensions Dance Theater. He performed with the successful Broadway musical SARAFINA, which received 5 nominations for TONY Awards. While touring the USA, and Canada, he taught master classes in New York, Washington D.C. and Tampa. Thamsanqa continues to teach children and adults in Oakland and Berkeley public schools, colleges and universities.

Gideon Mlungisi Bendile was born in the southwestern township (Soweto) of Johannesburg, South Africa, where he first began his career performing in local musical shows and traveling around South Africa. In 1974, he was invited to join a hit musical show from South Africa called Ipi Intombi, which traveled extensively - including Paris, London, New York on Broadway, Scandanavia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East. In 1975, Ipi Intombi won Best Foreign Musical in the Song of Europe Awards and was performed for the Queen of England, ending up with a long run in Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, having formed a group called Amazulu, Gideon was interviewed by Dinah Shore, toured with Redd Fox, appeared with Sammy Davis Jr. and Gregory Hines, performed for the Jerry Lee Lewis Telethon, and was featured as a guest artist with Siegfried and Roy.

In Northern California he formed a band called Zulu Spear, performing both nationally and internationally. He worked with the George Coates Performance Works in San Francisco, and with The Africans are Coming in Oakland. Funded by the CAC as an Artist in Residence with the Arts in Education program, he often works with his daughter Ayanda.

Matome Somo was born into the Mapedi people who were famous for playing drums and pan pipes. Matome grew up around both traditional and western musical instruments such as drums, guitars, banjos, and flutes. One of his names, Jitterbug, came about from his love of dancing as a child.

After Matome finished school he moved to Johannesburg, where he became interested in a cappella singing and performed with bands such as Dikosha and Sipho Mabuse's Harare Band. His theater experience includes Lulu-Wena Ifindo, and the world famous Ipi-Ntombi, which toured extensively throughout Europe and the U.S. This brought Matome to Houston where he collaborated with colleagues to create the Zulu Dance Theater, a show focusing on the politics and apartheid of South Africa. Zulu Dance Theater catalyzed his move to California where he eventually settled in the Bay Area.

Matome taught dance and drums in school and dance studios in the Bay Area, later forming his own band called Zulu Warriors. He then went on to perform with Zulu Spear. While his drumming and dancing tends to be traditional, Matome's musical interests are heavily influenced by Rock and Roll and Blues. Matome has performed with George Coates, Amandla Poets, and shared the stage with many headliners such as The Grateful Dead, Santana, the Neville Brothers, Hugh Masekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, King Sunny Ade, and a number of Jazz greats.


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