Zi­ady and Mid­dle­ton agree that Pre­to­ria has a vast dance au­di­ence and more than enough dance lovers to war­rant its own dance com­pa­nies.

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT -

Di­rec­tor and CEO of Joburg Bal­let, these two dance en­trepreneurs con­tinue to in­ces­santly pioneer the way for­ward, some 16 years later.

Jo­han­nes­burg fur­ther­more prides it­self with Gre­gory Maqoma’s Vuyani Dance Theatre and Sylvia Glasser’s Mov­ing into Dance Mopha­tong.

Back in Pre­to­ria, a huge gap was left in the city’s dance in­dus­try.

With the re­opened State Theatre’s new pol­icy of not sub­si­dis­ing per­ma­nent com­pa­nies, a drought in in­fra­struc­ture and a short­age in fund­ing made it un­likely for new com­pa­nies to be founded.

With­out a theatre as per­ma­nent res­i­dency, a per­ma­nent dance com­pany be­comes an ex­pen­sive un­der­tak­ing.

Against all odds but with abun­dant zeal, Pre­to­ria’s dance fore­run­ner Kelsey Mid­dle­ton founded the con­tem­po­rary dance com­pany, KMad.com, in 2002.

Fif­teen years later, the com­pany is still alive and kick­ing daz­zlingly high.

Al­though the com­pany does not of­fer per­ma­nent em­ploy­ment, it em­ploys dancers on a con­tract ba­sis. KMad presents up to six sea­sons per year.

Mid­dle­ton prides her­self in that KMad is a truly South African com­pany that serves its com­mu­nity with what she calls her “home in­dus­try”.

“My dancers are trained in and are ex­posed to all as­pects of theatre. We do ev­ery­thing our­selves”, she ex­plains.

KMad has es­tab­lished an au­di­ence for it­self in Pre­to­ria and has made an ex­cep­tional im­pres­sion at the arts fes­ti­vals over the years.

Sadly, Mid­dle­ton has only re­ceived gov­ern­ment fund­ing twice in all this time. Mid­dle­ton at­tributes KMad’s suc­cesses to her com­pany’s en­trepreneurial ini­tia­tive and her own stub­born per­sis­tence.

“It has been a tough jour­ney, but I am a fighter and I sim­ply refuse to give up,” she ex­claims.

Jeanette Zi­ady, lec­turer at the Tsh­wane Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (TUT) Fac­ulty of Per­form­ing Arts and a prom­i­nent fig­ure in Pre­to­ria dance cir­cles, re­it­er­ates that for a dance com­pany to har­vest au­di­ences and pay salaries, as­pects such as en­trepreneurial en­ter­prise and sound busi­ness knowl­edge are in­dis­pens­able.

It is for this very rea­son that pro­fi­ciency in these skills form an in­te­gral part of their fac­ulty’s train­ing.

“With­out ex­cep­tional brand­ing and op­ti­mal vis­i­bil­ity, dance com­pa­nies are un­likely to se­cure an au­di­ence and be suc­cess­ful as busi­nesses,” Zi­ady says.

She ex­plains that as gov­ern­ment fund­ing for dance, as of­fi­ci­ated by the Na­tional Arts Coun­cil of South Africa, is not suf­fi­cient to se­cure dance com­pa­nies’ sur­vival, pro­fes­sional dance as an art form will need to rein­vent it­self as a prof­itable busi­ness.

Zi­ady and Mid­dle­ton agree that Pre­to­ria has a vast dance au­di­ence and more than enough dance lovers to war­rant its own dance com­pa­nies.

One trusts that vi­sion­ary fi­nan­cial in­vestors will take note of the need to pre­serve dance as in­dis­pens­able to its so­ci­ety, while recog­nis­ing its busi­ness po­ten­tial.

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