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The Culture of sePantsula In South Africa

Pantsula dance is deemed as an energetic and spontaneous expression through dance which originated in Soweto, Johannesburg. However, some trace it back to Sophiatown because of its sense of clothing fashion and language. This highly expressive form of dance focusses on intricate footwork, the use of hand gestures, coordinated outfits and entertaining facial expressions.

Trophy seen at Red Bull Dance Your Style at Newtown Music Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa on August 3, 2019 Photo By Tyrone Bradley for Red Bull Content Pool

Over the years, the narrative of sePantsula has changed from a dance that embodied the spirit of protest during the apartheid era to a dance of self-expression which turns everyday gestures into choreography and telling a story.

The local dance has transcended African borders and featured on a global stage when Teboho “Tebza” Diphehlo won the inaugural South African Red Bull Dance Your Style in 2018. This afforded him the opportunity of representing the culture and dance genre on a global stage when he participated in the Red Bull Dance Your Style World Finals in Paris.

Tebogo poses for a portrait in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 17, 2019. Photo By Mpumelelo Macu for Red Bull Content Pool

Tebza, a 27-year old from Soweto is at the forefront of the Pantsula dance movement and has his own dance school in Naledi, Soweto. He hosts online classes, teaching dance students in France and the rest of the world. His online classes are part of an evolving relationship with Red Bull where he is scheduled to host a virtual Pantsula workshop on the brand’s global dance Instagram page (@redbulldance).

Tebogo performs in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 17, 2019. Photo By Mpumelelo Macu for Red Bull Content Pool

“If it wasn’t for Pantsula dance I would not have been able to touch the world the way that I have. All of my international tours, performing in bigger platforms and teaching in prominent dance studios could have never happened. I’m glad that a culture that was born in the townships is finally getting recognition on global stages, and I’m thankful to Red Bull South Africa and every individual that has and still contributing in making this possible… Pantsula to the world,”

said Teboho “Tebza” Diphehlo
Tebogo performs in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 17, 2019. Photo By Mpumelelo Macu for Red Bull Content Pool

Pantsula dance is perceived differently now compared to how it was seen in the past. It continues to play a huge role in giving many townships and individuals a platform of self-expression in an artistic way that requires drive and commitment. This, in turn, is helping in keeping the youth off the streets while being involved in an engaging subculture that keeps evolving. 

Tebza poses for a portrait during the Red Bull Dance Your Style World Final at la Grande Halle de La Villette in Paris, France on October 8, 2019. Photo By Mpumelelo Macu for Red Bull Content Pool

Keep an eye out for details on when Tebza will be hosting his global Pantsula workshop to be a part of the fun and knowledge sharing experience.

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