Walker Art Center

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Motswa Hole (video clip), 2001
Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe
Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe

Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe  b.1971  (Soweto, South Africa)

Born and raised in the township of Soweto, South Africa, dancer-choreographer Vincent Mantsoe (b. 1971) is accustomed to living dual realities. Still a young boy at the time of the 1976 Soweto uprisings, he watched as the community around him slowly rebuilt itself and township dance reemerged as a volatile cultural force in the new South Africa. The son of a Sangoma (an initiated priestess), Mantsoe began ritual drumming at the age of six, later becoming fascinated with Michael Jackson and what was then known as "street style" dance. He received his first formal dance training in Afro-fusion under the guidance of the highly influential Sylvia Glasser, artistic director of Moving Into Dance, of which Mantsoe is now associate artistic director. His solo works fuse traditional African dance forms with an inspired mix of Asian and European elements, classical ballet, and modern dance vocabulary in the exploration of spirituality, modernity, and tradition. His work combines themes of cultural alienation and identity with an intense physicality infused within each gesture.

As a parallel element to How Latitudes Become Forms, Mantsoe presents a spell-binding triple bill: Phokwane (an integration of his parents' names), an abstract, yet autobiographical tribute to his ancestors; Barena (Chiefs), which examines the complexities of power and leadership; and Motswa Hole (Person from far away), the tale of a stranger whose stories affect everyone they touch.

--Diana Kim

"The world is absolutely littered by modernities and by practicing artists, who never regarded modernism as the secure possession of the West, but perceived it as a language which was open to them but which they would have to transform."
. . . claiming tradition might be a sign of modernity. How do you deal with that when our understanding of modernity means to do away with tradition?
The pursuit of inclusion and the battle against modernizing local dreams are clearly two different issues, which our "global discussions" do not always allow us to distinguish with clarity.