Take inspiration from performing artist, Vuyo Mahashe: a South African contemporary ballet dancer. Sunday inspiration to tap into your truth, re find your inner child and build new
“I found myself one day in college, standing there, saying: 'I’m really studying dance. ' It is the same disbelief that he now has as he performs in internationally acclaimed productions; the latest being The Rite of Spring by Paul Bausch.

Creative World, meet Vuyo Mahashe – a contemporary ballet dancer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Before we tell you any more about Vuyo, absorb his artistic talent and feel his passion in this dance piece depicted below. 



Vuyo started dancing at the age of 15 in his original home town of East London. This is certainly a place that likes to add the word “male” in front of “ballet dancer” – and so be it. We are all learning many lessons out here on the earth. However, allow this small detail within societal convention to reveal this artists’ bravery and clear calling at a young age. 

Vuyo was already deeply ingrained in art and drama at school. He then figured why not add dance into his creative mix. After all, people always talk about needing to be a triple threat to win. Let’s not forget Vuyo’s original catalyst towards dance however – an unforgettable dance scene from the British movie, Billy Elliot – a piece he was required to review for an English class in grade 9. Get that, a movie seen in grade 9 has driven a career trajectory we see unfolding below. 

As is the story of trials and tribulations with many great artists, in later teenage years, he lost both his mother and grandfather in a short period of time. This  propelled Vuyo even further towards the specific artistic discipline of dance.  

“As part of the musical theatre I was involved in at school, I was required to dance. I had no training, but I figured why not get dance under my belt?” 

“And since then I’ve never stopped.”

After school, Vuyo Mahashe was given a scholarship to study dance at the Cape Academy of performing arts in Cape Town, South Africa. Given RSA’s oppressive past, formal education is not available, often, to those with talent, but to those who can afford it. As all over, scholarships are a big deal for allowing talent to thrive. 

“I found myself one day in college, standing there, saying “I’m really studying dance. ” 

It is the same disbelief that he now has as he performs in internationally acclaimed productions; one of the latest being ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Paul Bausch. 

“I’m not in a rehearsal or at training – this is my real job. ” 

We know. At AYA, we see you. The hours you put in beyond standard 8-5, the physical and emotional discipline, the passion, the sacrifice. We are here to shine a light on all it means to be a working artist in Africa; a sector that if too often shunned or dismissed in the face of economic rebuild or progress.

Fascinating 😉

As we are now in an unprecedented times on the earth, may the artists shine. Creativity is indeed more needed than ever before as we enter the greatest rebuild the world has seen, to date.

(See dancers rehearsing in Senegal on beach moments before lockdown). 

The AYA edit delved a little deeper into Vuyo’s heart and mind in order to understand what moves this human being. 

What is the performance you are most proud of? 

There are 2. 

Blue by Christopher Huggins that I was involved in at the age of 21. As quoted by the media at the time “Blue is a culmination of soul wrenching, dramatic classical music coupled with beautifully choreographed ballet moves that left the audience in absolute awe.” 

As of late, I am very proud to be involved the Rite of Spring by Paul Bausch. It is an internationally acclaimed performance. I am contracted to the Paul Bausch Foundation for, you know, as long as the investors want to see the production run. That could be until like 2025.  

The rite of Spring  is about human life – about sacrifice in the spring – but we are re creating the piece. 

When asked if the pandemic has rendered life down south as an artist, tough, Vuyo responds with a macro view that gifts us all: 

On dance at large:

It has its challenges. I am often the only boy. The schedules can be gruelling. There is a lot of pressure in dance. 

But life has not been as hard for me as for other people. I have all that I need. I always ensure that I use my head so I am not a struggling artist. 

One thing I’ve always had is control over my brain. I have control over the thoughts I cultivate in my brain. What info feed It. We all have our moments, yes, but I have control over my brain. 

Art is an escape, yes; but also I love it. But, yes, it is an escape from certain situations. 

As artists in RSA, we need to collaborate. We realise very soon that what we have as artists is ourselves. In RSA the gov. Doesn’t support us. This is the future of art here – we must come together. 

On the latter, at AYA, we agree. Let’s unite.


What is your main driving force as an artist? 

I want to do better. I am my own competition. Better than the last job I had. When I complete a phase of work, I ask, what is the next step? 

For example. I’ve danced in RSA, now I want to dance Internationally. This drive is not only for me. It is for my family as a whole. 

I am the first person in my family  to go on international travel. To get a visa to travel the world. To go on an aeroplane.

I want to impress myself so that is my main driving force.

What are you up now? 

I am currently contracted to Pina Bausch foundation – Artistically I’m doing that, but I’m doing so many things. I like to work:

I am also a Pilates instructor. 

I am involved in an NPO that is changing society through dance. We want to teach kids to dance.  It’s cool when you’ve learnt how to do something to try and give back

There is so much talent. These kids don’t know what to do. If we can give hope, great. We must start small. Start somewhere. Hopefully one day we can be touring with these kids.”




Chat to us if you need some help - Click on a contact below