DIALOGUE PANEL #1 – “Dance Training – pushing praxis for integrated and disability dance in Africa”

Chair: Dr. Lliane Loots


Nadine McKenzie (UNMUTE DANCE COMPANY, South Africa),
Gladys Agulhas (Dance Educator & Choreographer, South Africa)
Ondiege Matthew (Dance Into Space, Kenya)


Nadine McKenzie

Nadine McKenzie is a qualified integrated dance teacher, trained by Alito Alessi at the ImpulsTanz International workshop in Vienna in 2010. In 2006 she joined Remix Dance Company and has since produced exceptional work as performer/ teacher in a wheelchair establishing herself as a well-recognized figure within the local and international performing arts community. In 2013 she was nominated for the Imbokodo Awards in the Dance category, received a Tribute Award in the Arts and Culture Category, and was selected as one of the Mail and Guardian 200 Young South Africans. In 2018 she was awarded an Imagine Award in the disability category for promoting awareness-creating work on disability and inclusion. Mckenzie is the Artistic Director and a co- founder of the Unmute Dance Company (UNMUTE). She has performed in the company’s, Unmute, Trapped, SOLD, Breaking Borders Ashed and Access Me. She also co-curates UNMUTE’s annual ArtsAbility Festival, the first Inclusive Arts festival in South Africa founded in 2014. Outside of UNMUTE, Mckenzie is a freelance performer and has featured in Swiss production, “One At A Time” by Alessandro Schiatarrella that premiered in Switzerland and toured to Berlin, Croatia and South Africa.

Gladys Agulhas

Gladys Agulhas is an award-winning dancer, educator & choreographer.  Her many prominent accolades include The Presidential National Award, The Order of Ikhamanga in SILVER for Arts & Culture -2012, recipient of the University of Johannesburg Arts and Culture Tunkie Award 2011, the Naledi Theatre Award for Innovation in Theatre 2019, and the 2020 Gauteng Ishashalasi Special Theatre Award for excellent contribution within the Arts Theatre sectors. She completed two consecutive Integrated Dance Residency programmes in Switzerland with renowned Integrated Artist Adam Benjamin (UK), including his online courses in 2022. Agulhas is founder of former Agulhas Theatre Works, Inclusive Dance Company and the Kliptown Arts Foundation in Eldorado Park, both organisations practice Integrated Dance Teaching / Workshops & Theatre Productions. Since 2008, Agulhas’s teaching methodology, an all-Inclusive Dance Artistic Humanitarian programme, benefits many today. She has worked with The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative FATC, Moving Into Dance Mophatong MIDM, The International American Institution and, the 36th ITI World Congress ‘Rewrite’, for the performing Arts and Humanism – FUJAIRAH / UAE 2023. She works intensely with Vuyani Dance Theatre.

Ondiege Matthew

Ondiege Matthew is a dancer, choreographer, and DANCE INTO SPACE founder, a group of contemporary dancers, socially engaged performance artists, and the only mixed ability contemporary dance company in East Africa. Through exploring personal stories and employing participatory methods, the company under Ondiege creates touring productions, teaches dance, empowers people with different abilities, raises awareness on human rights issues, and strengthens self-advocacy. DANCE INTO SPACE works with other civil society members, creatives and government agencies, carries out civic education, constitutional education and human rights awareness among citizens in Kenya through the creative arts. As a leading contemporary dance choreographer as well as an activist, Ondiege has been using the mixed ability dance projects as a creative approach to inclusiveness since 2005. The projects address stigma while tackling punitive cultural practices that promote discrimination and basic human rights violations among people with disability. He continues to produce new and original works with his team.