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The Washington Ballet’s Andile Ndlovu

Andile Ndlovu

Born in the rough Soweto township of Ladysmith, Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa, Andile Ndlovu was drawn to dance as a little boy.  His family moved to Johannesburg when he was ten and it was then that he started ballroom dancing, shifting to ballet when he was fifteen.  After he was noticed dancing at a local outreach program by South African choreographer Martin Schonberg, he was offered a scholarship  at Ballet Theatre Afrikans.  Teased by the local children for wearing tights and for his involvement in something so contrary to the norm, Ndlovu was ostracized by his peers who considered ballet to be an elitist art form for white people, and especially inappropriate for boys.

Through his focus and passion, Ndlovu quickly became one of Ballet Theatre Afrikan’s leading male dancers, excelling at not only ballet, but at modern and jazz as well. By 2007 he was dancing the lead role in Don Quixote, the Jester in Swan Lake, and many other juicy classical roles.  It was through his sterling performances at the South African International Ballet Competition in 2008 that he was invited to Washington, where he danced with The Studio Company for one year before being invited into The Washington Ballet itself. Now in his third season with the company, Ndlovu is proving himself as a dancer to watch, with his exquisite lines and eminent grace and bravura.

As one of the most notable South African dancers, Ndlovu is not content to rest on his laurels as an up-and-coming star.  He clearly states that one of his goals is to be a role model for other young South African men who wish to pursue ballet as a career.  He also hopes to help promote ballet as the magnificent and viable art form it is in order to help potential dancers from South African black communities find both economic and emotional support.

It is obvious that so far Ndlovu is doing his fair share of not only igniting audiences with his on-stage presence, but also proving to many people in his country that ballet is for everyone.