March 19-22, 2009  

Across the Threshold: Creativity, Being and Healing Conference


Vincent Mantsoe

Workshop: To be scheduled on Friday, March 20, The Ark Dance Studio, Duke University East Campus

Keynote Solo Performance: EBHOFOLO (this madness), Saturday, March 21, 8pm, Hayti Heritage Center in Durham Vincent Mantsoe hails from Soweto, South Africa.

During his formative years he danced with youth clubs practicing street dances and trying to imitate the dance moves seen in music videos. At the same time he woke everyday to the sound of the drum his mother played to greet the Ancestors. A descendant of a long line of Sangomas (traditional healers) Mantsoe participated in traditional rituals involving the use of song and dance. It was not until he began his training at Johannesburg's Moving Into Dance Company that Mantsoe was able to merge these two distinct dance forms into his own style that he describes as Afro-fusion. Mantsoe's work draws on traditional African dance forms with a contemporary approach from modern, ballet and Asian forms such as Tai Chi, Martial Art and traditional Balinese dance.

Mantsoe has performed at international venues and festivals such as: House of World Culture (Berlin, Germany); across Africa; Dance Umbrella South Africa Johannesburg; Dance Umbrella (London, UK); Harbourfront Center (Toronto, Canada); National Arts Center (Ottawa, Canada) The HK Cultural Centre (Hong Kong, China); and in the U.S. at the Kennedy Centre WD, Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (Newark, NJ), Bates Dance Festival (Portland, ME), and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Lee, MA) Japan Kyoto, Kyoto Art Center and Art complex, African Tour and many more. Mr. Mantsoe was the Associate Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer with the Moving into Dance Company (Johannesburg, South Africa) and has also created works for Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Theatre Afrikan (South Africa), Skanes Dans Teatre (Sweden), Inbal Dance Company of Israel and Coba Collective of Black Dancers (Toronto).

“What is the source of inspiration of my work?

Allow me to first define Afro-Fusion ( an important vehicle of my work) - different forms of dance (Western and Eastern) and traditional dances are brought together to form one spirit of Dance, as I would like to call it.

I have been interested over the years in traditional dance forms and bringing some form of spirituality in my performances. Contemporary, Aboriginal, Asian (Indian, Tai Chi, Martal Art, Balinese) Dance and Ballet play an important role in my work. African dance has also been, (since my first approach to professional Dance) an important aspect in my work, with the influences from Zulu Dance, Pedi, Xhosa, Venda and Shangaan dance.

The "Spirits" or "Ancestors" have been an important part of my creative process, with the belief that if I have to create a work, I always have to "borrow" with respect, appreciation and the understanding of the movement source. This is not always the case, as I may not know where some of the movements come from, whilst in the process of creation.

I perform a traditional ritual at least twice a year. The reason is twofold, one this is where I remind myself of important rules from the Ancestors, and two, it gives me the opportunity to ask for permission to "borrow" some of the traditional movements, especially the ones which may not be performed in public. I always have to make sure that I respect the sacredness of some of the dances that were performed in the past. I always believe that an artist should at all times be humble when they involve themselves with traditional dance forms especially when they are still in the learning process. It is not always that we can find ourselves completely knowing and understanding what and when the real spirit of dance introduces itself to us in our creative process (especially if we try too hard to!).

I strongly believe that with the preservation of Culture there must also be a move with the modern society. All this will result in the appropriate sharing of knowledge and skills to the next Generation about our past heritage.

Whenever I perform, I also try to share my childhood experiences as I had a chance observe and interact with Nature, being told fables by my grandmother who has a lot wisdom and I had a chance to see traditional healers / sangomas - my mother and aunt are healers, performing their rituals. This had a tremendous impact on my life and it has become very important in my profession to introduce in my work this aspect of my past experiences to re-Educate and re- Connect with my roots and then to share it with everyone across the world.

This philosophy of bringing the cultures together in my work is to provide information that is simple yet important and never to forget it. I

f we work hard towards having the Respect, Understanding, Commitment, Knowledge of others and being passionate and positive about what we want to achieve in our lives, great things will happen to all of us.

I am Nature

I am a Spirit

I am living Soul

I am you, and you are my reflection!”

vincent sekwati koko mantsoe Dancer, Choreographer and Teacher



Across The Threshold: Creativity, Being & Healing is sponsored by the Duke University Dance Program, with support from a Visiting Artist Grant from the Council for the Arts, Office of the Provost, Duke University; The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation; and the Robertson Scholars Program Collaboration Fund. Co-Sponsors include the Duke University Department of Theater Studies, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Religion, Graduate Liberal Studies, The Franklin Humanities Institute, Duke University Music Department and the Women’s Studies Program.

2009 Conference Keynote Speaker and Performer

Bradford Keeney, Ph.D., will lead a pre-conference workshop and deliver the keynote address on Thursday, March 19, 2009. His field studies on healing and shamanism are chronicled in the critically acclaimed book series, Profiles of Healing, an eleven-volume encyclopedia of the world’s healing practices. He is the author of Shaking Medicine : the Healing Power of Ecstatic Movement. Read more >
Bradford Keeney website:

Vincent Mantsoe, a South African dancer and choreographer, will lead a workshop on Friday, March 20 and present the keynote performance on Saturday, March 21, 2009. Mantsoe merges several movement influences into “Afro-fusion”, drawing on traditional African dance forms with a contemporary approach from modern, ballet and Asian forms such as Tai Chi, Martial Art and traditional Balinese dance. Read more >
Vincent Mantsoe website: