Theatre News South Africa

Baxter Dance Festival lineup includes 32 works by 54 choreographers

The 14th annual Baxter Dance Festival will be held at the Baxter Theatre Centre in Cape Town from 4-13 October 2018. This year's festival is set to feature 32 works by 54 choreographers.

Rolex Mentor and 2004 Protégé Laureate Junaid Jemal Sendi as well as Addisu Demissie Kifle from Destino Dance Company based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will open this year’s festival.

Ene Man Negn by Dan Green
Ene Man Negn by Dan Green

Sendi and Kifle will kick off the festival with Ene Man Negn (Who am I), a duet about identity, choices and fate. A Holding Space, a duet by London-based choreographers Russell Meliphant and Adam Benjamin highlights the themes of trust and a dialogue between two people who share the same space and history. The opening night programme will also include a short film about the process of creating A Holding Space.

Companies like Jazzart Dance Theatre, New World Dance Theatre, Cape Dance Company, Arms & Length Dance Company, Dance for All, and Darkroom Contemporary are back to showcase their work in a curated programme, focussing on the best that dance in the Western Cape has to offer and the new talent coming through the ranks.

The 2018 Baxter Dance Festival consists of the main programme, which will include invited and commissioned works by CAN Creative’s Nathan Bartman and Ciara Baldwin. Work by recognised professional choreographers and companies will also be showcased and will run for the duration of the festival. The off-main programme will showcase work by up-and-coming choreographers (including student work), and the fringe programme will include work by youth groups, dance schools, school groups, traditional dance groups, and others.

This year, the Baxter’s commissioned work was chosen from applications received. Nathan Bartman and Ciara Baldwin of CAN Creative, a dance company devised by the two, explore original topics and express themselves through dance, physicality, music, and the spoken word – always striving to create a positive message and trying to capture the beauty and power of it.

Ciara Balwin and Nathan Bartman in Rooted
Ciara Balwin and Nathan Bartman in Rooted

Joining the programme for this year’s festival is Eastern Cape-born, London-based dancer Mbulelo Ndabeni. Ndabeni trained at Dance for All, UCT School of Dance, San Francisco Academy of Ballet, and London Studio Centre.

“Each year, the growing number of applications reminds me of the need to support, encourage, and advocate for dance in the Western Cape and surrounding areas. There is a strong local dance community in the city, province, and beyond and the Baxter Dance Festival, being the only platform of this kind, is, therefore, an integral part of promoting this art form,” says Nicolette Moses, artistic director of the Baxter Dance Festival.

Booking for the 2018 Baxter Dance Festival is through Webtickets, online at or at selected Pick n Pay stores.

The full programme may be viewed on

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