Yes – they can dance!

2010-08-22 09:14
Get the low down on those pop-locking, ballet dancing, hip-hoping top 16 contestants from South Africa’s version of So You Think You Can Dance

•Ashley Beyers
Age: 20
From Johannesburg
Expert in popping, b-boying, house and kwaito.
Profession: He is a dancer, works for a marketing group, makes music and teaches kids.
Dance history: He has been dancing for eighteen years. Beyers made South African champion in popping three years in a row. He has also danced for local musicians Jamali, HHP and many more.

•Bonwa Mbontsi
Age: 21
From Pietermaritzburg
Expert in contemporary dance, particularly ballet.
Profession: Bachelor of Arts Student at UKZN, majoring in Psychology and Drama.
Dance history: He has been dancing for four years. Mbontsi has also performed and participated mostly in school dancing productions. This is his second year trying out for So You Think You Can Dance.

•Carl Davids
Age: 24
From: Johannesburg
Expert in hip-hop, freestyle and lyrical contemporary.
Profession: Dancing is his first profession, but he is an aspiring photographer currently studying at Damelin College.
Dance history: Davids started break dancing in 2002 at boarding school. Thereafter he joined Studio Dance Maniacs in Johannesburg South under Candice McIntire, where he learnt freestyle and his love for hip-hop. After teaching at championship level he moved to Diona Moore Dance World where he is currently dancing. He has danced in numerous shows including the closing ceremony for the Sony Ericcson Women’s Challenge in Doha, Qatar.

•Cleo Notcutt

Age: 19
From Cape Town
Expert in hip-hop.
Profession: Freelance dancer
Dance history: Notcutt has been dancing since she was three years old; her mother is a dance teacher. She has done many different styles from modern, musical theatre and recently hip-hop. She has always become accustomed to kwaito, pantsula, contemporary and gumboots dance.

•Darren Hammond
Age: 18
From Pretoria
Expert in Latin American.
Profession: Manager at a Romans Pizza franchise.
Dance history: Hammond has danced since the age of 5. He studied Latin American and freestyle at Beverly Hammond Dance School.

•Gerbrandt (Gerrie) de Wet
Age: 18
From Randfontein
Expert in Latin and contemporary.
Profession: He is starting his own web designing company. He dances at corporate functions and does stage productions.
Dance history: He has been dancing for nine years. De Wet started with freestyle and then Latin. He went to the School of Arts where he studied ballet and contemporary Spanish.

•Jeanette Boipelo Maphafo

Age: 23
From Pretoria
Expert in Latin dancing.
Profession: Maphafo a dancer and teaches Latin in her club. She is also studying Psychology, specialising in psychological counselling.
Dance history: She started dancing in 2004 and competitively late in 2004, dancing only Latin. She was chosen to represent South Africa in Finland and Asia.
•Jade John (JJ) Heuvel
Age: 20
From Cape Town
Expert in Hip-hop, but loves the art of dance as a whole.
Profession: Full-time freelance dancer, teaching at various institutions and gyms such as UCT, CPUT, Virgin Active gyms. Also performs on various stages around the country and has worked with various people and choreographers.
Dance History: Heuvel actively danced for 7 years, earning various levels to achieve teaching certificates in hip-hop. After gaining experience he began dancing independently and started his own dance school.

•Kabelo (KayB) Mahlala
Age: 23
From Johannesburg
Expert in hip-hop.
Profession: Second year Financial Management student at Unisa. He is also a professional dancer and hip-hop choreographer and teacher.
Dance history: Mahlala started dancing at the age of nine but started having a love and passion for it in high school, when he started his first hip-hop crew called 4Deep. He branched out individually last year after a fallout between the group members, and came to Johannesburg to pursue his dream of dancing. Recently he danced at the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

•Kai Pretorius
Age: 19
From Durban
Expert in Ballet and contemporary.
Profession: She is a graphic design student at the Durban University of Technology and part-time professional dancer at the Break-Thru Dance Co.
Dance history: She was classically trained in ballet from the age of 3 and completed all her ballet exams and all modern exams. She has also been exposed to a variety of dance styles and participated in professional productions.

•Lulu Mlangeni
Age: 23
From Soweto
Expert in Contemporary, ballet.
Profession: Freelance performer
Dance history: Mlangeni started dancing in Soweto in a community dance group doing modern dancing. Later she got introduced to contemporary in 2004. She has worked with the most prominent choreographers in South Africa such as Gregory Maqoma, Nelisiwe Xaba, P.J. Shabaga and James Ngcobo. She has toured nationally and internationally.

•Nkateko (Takkies) Maswanganye

Age: 19
From Johannesburg
Expert in hip-hop and Spanish.
Profession: She studies part time.
Maswanganye dances and teaches kids dance. She is a judge on the SADTA dance competition.
Dance history: She started dancing when she was nine and joined a hip-hop and modern studio. Maswanganye then studied ballet, Spanish and jazz at the art school Pro-Arte For Dance. After matric, she and her friends created a hip-hop dance group called Cadence. She started dancing with Lorcia Cooper recently and judging the SADTA dance competition.

•Shelley Nicole Christians
Age: 21
From Cape Town
Expert in hip-hop, but loves all dance genres.
Profession: She is the head cheerleader for the Stormers. Christians is a final year Dramatic Arts student at Cape Academy of Dramatic Arts, and a glamour and lifestyle model. She also teaches dance at Virgin Active and workshops at schools.
Dance history: She has been dancing since she started walking. She is classically trained in ballet at Studio RAP and International Dance Academy, which she attended from 1996 until 2002. She also trained for show dance, cabaret, belly dancing and African Jazz at the Afrika Ablaze as well as trained for hip-hop at CUT of Africa Academy. She has also been a professional dancer for four years. She represented the Stormers in Sports Illustrated in 2007. She has been in numerous adverts, including the Vodacom "All the single ladies" ad. She was also a back-up dancer for R&B singer Loyiso and the band Denim. She featured in Lira and Jody Williams’ music videos.

•Snenhlanhla Mbatha

Age: 18
From Durban
Expert in old-school hip-hop.
Profession: Student and sales assistant at Kodak Express.
Dance history: Mbatha is a natural dancer that grew up following Janet Jackson until krumping came along. At first her mother hated her krumping but eventually she won her over. She joined a dance school called Dance Direction International when she was 15. In 2008, at the age of 16, Mbatha released two krump video clips of her dancing.

•Tumie Letsoenyo
Age 27
From Soweto
Expert in kwaito, fusion and hip-hop.
Profession: Professional dancer, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, dance activist, performer, mentor.
Dance history: Letsoenyo started dancing in 2009 with Somizu Mhlongo and has worked with acclaimed artists such as Joyous Celebration, Will Smith, TK ZEE, The Parlotones, Zebra & Giraffe, KB, Lebo Mathaso, Ntando, Busi Mhlongo, Thandiswa, Kabelo Mabalane, Debbie Raksin, Tanya Norman and Lizha James.

•Xolani Mthabela
Age: 20
From Kempton Park
Expert in primarily contemporary dance, but enjoys all dance forms.
Profession: Professional dancer.
Dance history: Mthabela obtained his three dance diplomas from the Johannesburg Dance Foundation. He gained experience working for the likes of companies such as: Tshwane Dance Theatre, Afrika-Afrika and African Footprint.