Contemporary dancer makes it big – with no regrets

Shaun Oelf.

Shaun Oelf followed his heart and left his hometown of Knysna in 2006 to pursue a career in dance – a decision he has not regretted.

The dancer, who lives in Observatory, will feature in Blue Violin, a new dance production by Dance Theatre Africa (DTA).

It explores the connection between sound and colours and their connection with creation.

The show will run at the Artscape Theatre from today Thursday March 28 to Saturday March 30.

Producer and choreographer, Tercia Amsterdam, says the contemporary-dance production explores the affects colours and sounds had on the subconscious and unconscious mind.

“Each colour and sound will be joined with interpretive movement, revealing its very nature,” she says.

Blue Violin is directed by Adele Blank. Original music has been composed by Bogdan Pashovski and poetry is by Melissa Titus.

Oelf started dancing in 2006, when he was accepted into a three-year training programme at Jazzart Dance Theatre, where he learnt various dance styles, including contemporary, ballet, free-style and tap dance.

After graduating, he joined Jazzart as a dancer for four years.

In 2014, Oelf won the Baxter Theatre Artist of the Year Award and was nominated for a Naledi Theatre Award in 2015 as best supporting actor in the production Fishes of Hope.

In 2014, he launched the Cape Town-based Figure of Eight Dance Collective (FO8) with co-founder Grant van Ster. It won the dance category at the 2016 Cultural Affairs Awards.

In Blue Violin, he represents the colour purple, which stands for royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. He says the role has been challenging for him.

“The production is an interesting concept. It is not really who I am as a person,” he said.

Oelf says the contemporary dance style is his favourite and one he is most comfortable with.

Dancers representing other colours in Blue Violin, are Kristin Wilson (blue), Grant Edam (orange), Luyanda Mdingi (green), Ilze Williams (red) and Lee Piedt (yellow). Black and white will be performed by all the dancers.

Amsterdam, the founder and artistic director of Dance Theatre Africa, is a professional dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, Pilates instructor and a member of the International Dance Council.

She started her training in classical ballet at the age of 5 and has been dancing for more than 30 years.

The DTA is a non-profit organisation that helps struggling professional dancers and choreographers in Cape Town. It helps with job creation and outreach programmes in poor communities.

Performances for Blue Violin are on Thursday and Friday at 7.30pm and Saturday at 3.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are R100 and R150 and can be booked at Computicket and Artscape Dial-a-Seat at 021 421 7695.

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