Flatfoot Dance Company

Photography by Val Adamson

Meet The Company

Lliane Loots (Artistic Director/Choreographer/Educator)

Loots founded her FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY as a professional dance company in 2003 when it grew out of a dance training programme that originally began in 1994. As the artistic director and resident choreographer for FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY, she has won numerous national choreographic awards and commissions and has travelled quite extensively – as both teacher and choreographer - in Europe, America and within the African continent with her dance work.

Lliane Loots also presently holds the position of Lecturer in the Drama and Performance Studies Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has a Master’s degree in Gender Studies, and completed her PhD in 2018 looking at contemporary dance/performance histories on the African continent. As an artist/scholar her PhD research is framed within an ethnographic and autoethnographic paradigm with a focus on narrative as methodology. Loots holds the founding position of Artistic Director for UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts’s annual international JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience – a festival that turns 23 in 2021. She has also recently completed a 3-year stretch (2016 – 2018) on the Grahamstown National Arts Festival’s Artistic Committee for dance. Loots was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government in 2017 for her work (both artistic and curatorial) in the South African dance sector.

Jabu Siphika (Dancer/Dance Educator/Projects Liaison Officer)

Jabu joined FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY in February 2007. She received her training through Phenduka Dance Theatre’s trainee /training programme, and also spent some time as a senior member of Phenduka Dance Theatre, performing extensively with the company in such seasons as Holes in the Heart which was performed in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, Umhlahlo which was also performed in Durban and Cape Town. Jabu assists with facilitation on FLATFOOT’s Dance Development projects in KwaMashu, Umlazi and in Waterloo. In 2007 she completed a course in Dance in Education - a graduate module offered at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban). She won a first place in choreography for National Creative Arts Youth Festival in KwaZulu-Natal in the group dance competition in 2009. And in 2010 she joined FLATFOOT in Cameroon performing at a festival called Abok I Ngoma. She has also been with the company to Holland on a performance and teaching exchange with Introdans Interactive in Arnhem. In January 2011, Jabu and herFLATFOOT Siyakhula Dance Project were invited to be part of a cultural exchange in Zimbabwe by the youth arts organisation, Chipawo. Jabu took a one-year sabbatical from FLATFOOT over 2012 where she worked with Gregory Maqoma and his Johannesburg-based Vuyani Dance Theatre. She returned full-time with the company from January 2013. Jabu continues to participate in Boyzie Cekwana (South Africa) and Faustin Linyekula’s (Democratic Republic of Congo) continental dance residency that has seen her work in both Kenya and most recently Ireland. Jabu has choreographed numerous works for both the FLATFOOT Training Company and more recently for the main company.

Sifiso Khumalo (Dancer/Dance Educator/Training Development Officer)

Sifiso began his dance performance career in 1998 with UKUSA ARTS PROGRAMME. In 1999 he went to work with the French company called Cie Jean Francois Duroure in a production called ''What are you doing here?'' which toured Belgium, France, Germany, Holland and many east central countries in Africa. In 2001 he joined Phenduka Dance Theatre's training progamme and after completing the training in 2005 set off to join the internationally acclaimed African Footprint in their season run at Sibaya Casino (which also went on to tour to Morocco and India). In 2006 he joined FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY and has performed intensively and extensively with the company ever since; performing in not only Lliane Loots’s works but also with guest choreographers to the company like Sifiso Kweyama (South Africa), Daniel Renner (Holland/Austria), and Adedayo Liadi (Nigeria). Within FLATFOOT, Sifiso is currently working as a facilitator and dance teacher in the company’s dance development projects in KwaMashu and Thugela River Mouth. He also co-facilitates the FLATFOOT disability dance programme in partnership with the Open-Air School here in Durban. He has completed a graduate course, Dance in Education, at the University of KwaZulu Natal (Durban) in 2007. His growing list of choreographic works include amongst others, Giyani Lusha! 2009 and 2010, a youth ensemble hosted by KZN DanceLink; ''Harsh Hush My Soul'' for DUT's dance drama season called ''Rejected Angels'' in 2009; ''Zakubuyiswa ngubani na?'' (Who will bring them back?) with FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY's season called ''Six'' in 2008. In 2012, Khumalo was commissioned by the company to create the acclaimed “UTALAGO/HORIZON” for the then six resident dancers of FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY. Khumalo continues to participate in Boyzie Cekwana (South Africa) and Faustin Linyekula’s (Democratic Republic of Congo) continental dance residency that has seen him work in both Kenya and most recently Ireland. As of 2018, Khumalo has stepped more solidly into the role of choreographer.

Zinhle Nzama (Dancer/Dance Educator/Administrative Liaison Officer)

Zinhle gained her primary dance training with Phenduka Dance Theatre between 2005 and 2007, after which she decided to study further to obtain her Bachelor of Education through UNISA - she completed her teaching qualification at the end of 2015. She funded her studies by dancing in all sorts of corporate gigs some of which include prestigious events like COP 17 and the 2010 FIFA World Cup closing ceremony. She has also been a guest dancer with companies like Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, and Nateshwar Dance Company. Prior to joining the company full-time, Zinhle was also a guest performer with FLATFOOT and toured with them to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival Arena Platform to perform in Loots’s acclaimed “mapping nostalgia” in 2012. Her love (and gift) for teaching has seen her teach the dance module in the UKUSA Arts Programme, and she has also taught within some of FLATFOOT’s dance education and development programmes. Zinhle joined FLATFOOT full time at the beginning of 2015 and brought an incredible and vital energy to the company that resonated with her symbiotic love of performance and teaching. She is a valued member of the professional company and co-facilitates the FLATFOOT programmes in Waterloo and in Umlazi. Zinhle continues to grow her choreographic skills with on-going support and work with the FLATFOOT Training Company. Zinhle has choreographed numerous works for both the FLATFOOT Training Company and more recently has begun to stretch her skills in work created for the main company.

Mthokozisi Mkhwanazi (Dancer/Dance Educator)

Mthoko started dancing with Flatfoot in early January 2010 in its community project from KwaMashu called "Siyakhula Dance Programme". In 2011 he was selected to travel with FLATFOOT to Zimbabwe for a culture exchange with CHIPOWA. In 2013 he was selected for the inaugural FLATFOOT career pathing and skills development programme called the Advanced Dance Development programme. Alongside this he has also attended classes and training with KwaMashu School of Dance Theatre (KMSDT) where he now also participates as one of the teachers. As an ADD dancer he worked with high profile teachers/choreographers, including DEEPLY ROOTED DANCE THEATER’s Kevin Iega jeff (USA). In 2019, Mthoko joined the main FLATFOOT company as a full-time junior company member and has done work with Lliane Loots, Sifiso Khumalo, Jabu Siphika and worked with recent guest choreographers to the company Fana Tshabalala and Yaseen Manuel. In 2020 he stretched his choreographic wings and created his first work for FLATFOOT in a season called BUSY SEEING RED. In his usual humble way, he says, “I wish I can grow with the company and to further my experience so that FLATFOOT can grow me more. I want to know everything about the company, and I really hope I can also bring inputs in the company”.

Siseko Duba (Dancer/Dance Educator)

Siseko comes from Newlands West and started dancing in 2010 through FLATFOOT’s programme with the Newlands Youth Organization. In 2013 he was selected for the inaugural FLATFOOT career pathing and skills development programme called the Advanced Dance Development programme. As an ADD dancer he worked with high profile teachers/choreographers, including DEEPLY ROOTED DANCE THEATER’s Kevin Iega Jeff (USA). In 2016 and 2017, Siseko also attended classes and training with KwaMashu School of Dance Theatre (KMSDT). In 2019, Siseko joined the main FLATFOOT company as a full-time junior company member and has done work with Lliane Loots and Sifiso Khumalo and worked with recent guest choreographers to the company Fana Tshabalala and Yaseen Manuel. He has also worked with Oscar Buthelezi, Sandile Mkhize and Nkanyiso Kunene. Siseko has also recently joined the FLATFOOT Downie Dance programme where his gentle and focused way for working has resonated with this integrated dance programme. He says, “my hopes with FLATFOOT this year is to work hard and learn new things – and push myself even further!”

Sibongakonke Ndlovu (Dancer/Dance Educator)

Hailing form KwaMashu, Sbonga started dancing with Flatfoot in early January 2010 in its community project from KwaMashu called "Siyakhula Dance Programme". In 2013 he was selected for the inaugural FLATFOOT career pathing and skills development programme called the Advanced Dance Development programme. Alongside this he has also attended classes and training with KwaMashu School of Dance Theatre (KMSDT). As an ADD dancer he worked with high profile teachers/choreographers, including DEEPLY ROOTED DANCE THEATER’s Kevin Iega jeff (USA). In 2018 he made his debut with the professional company in Lliane Loots’s "things left unsaid". In 2019, Sbonga joined the main FLATFOOT company as a full-time junior company member and has done work with Loots, Sifiso Khumalo, Jabu Siphika and worked with recent guest choreographers to the company Fana Tshabalala and Yaseen Manuel. Sbonga’s unfailing commitment to hard work come over when he sys; “I love to dance because it makes me feel better, when I dance, I am at my warmest place and that’s where I get peace of mind. Dance is not just my career, but my life and I am realising that this will take me to next level of my life”.

Ndumiso 'Digga' Dube (Dancer/Dance Educator)

Digga started dancing in 2008 with FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY'S KwaMashu based programme called SIYAKHULA DANCE PROJECT. As part of SIYAKHULA he toured with FLATFOOT to ZIMBABWE in 2011 for a cultural exchange with CHIPAWO. In 2013 he was selected for the inaugural FLATFOOT career pathing and skills development programme called the Advanced Dance Development programme. As an ADD dancers he worked with high profile teachers/choreographers, including DEEPLY ROOTED DANCE THEATER’s Kevin Iega Jeff (USA). In 2016 and 2017, Digga also attended classes and training with KwaMashu School of Dance Theatre (KMSDT). In 2018 he made his debut with the professional company in Lliane Loots’s "things left unsaid". In 2019, Digga joined the main FLATFOOT company as a full-time junior company member and has done work with Lliane Loots and Sifiso Khumalo and worked with recent guest choreographers to the company Fana Tshabalala and Yaseen Manuel. He has also been teaching – for the past 2 years - in FLATFOOT’s rural programme called the TUGELA RIVER MOUTH DANCE PROGRAMME where he is proving to be a gifted dance educator and teacher. Digga’s incredible focus and hard work comes out when he says, “I wish to really make it at the professional level with FLATFOOT and I know it's possible because as an upcoming young dancer it has given me hope”.

Clare Craighead (Company Manager)

Clare was introduced to FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY as a student, whilst studying towards her BSocSc at the former UND, in 1999. In 2003, when the company received its first national funding from the National Arts Council and launched itself professionally, she joined the company in the role of ‘Company Manager’ and has been with the company ever since. She holds a Masters of Arts degree in Drama and Performance Studies (specialising in dance) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal; FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY’s current home. Clare is presently employed as a lecturer at the Durban University of Technology in the Drama and Production Studies programme and has recently registered at her alma mater to complete her PhD in Performance Studies. Despite the demands of this dedicated work, her administration and clarity of thinking remain one of FLATFOOT’s key success areas.

Flatfoot Dance Company Board

Sharlene Versfeld (chair), Thulani Msani, Thobile Maphanga, Gerard Samuel, 

Wesley Maherry, Clare Craighead, Russel Hlongwane and Lliane Loots.