Meet the Jazzart Dance Theatre dancers

26 May 2023

As they prepare to take to the stage with Phoenix Dance Theatre in Requiem: Journeys of the Soul, let us introduce the incredible dancers who make up Jazzart Dance Theatre.

l-r Rian Jansen, Phikolwethu Luke, Emile Petersen, Lihle Mfene

l-r Abigail Overmeyer, Savannah Petrus, Vuyelwa Phota, Chesney Stanfield

Rian Jansen

From the quaint town of Malmesbury, Rian discovered his love for dance at a young age, immersing himself in various dance genres. Rian’s passion for dance brought him to Jazzart Dance Theatre, where he began his journey as a member of the Chrysalis Academy/Jazzart Dance Leadership Programme. With his talent and dedication, he soon graduated from the  3-year full-time training program at Jazzart Dance Theatre, a pivotal moment in his career. Today, Rian is a dynamic and talented company member, bringing his unique style and creativity to the stage with every performance.

Phikolwethu Luke

Hailing from East London, Eastern Cape, Phikolwethu (Phiko) began his dance journey in ballet, training at the renowned Heather Cooper School of Ballet, where he was the only male ballet dancer in the company. His exceptional talent was recognized when he received the prestigious Mable Ryan Award. Phiko’s passion for dance led him to Jazzart Dance Theatre, where he began his journey as part of the 3-year full-time training programme. Today, he is a dynamic and talented company member, showcasing his skills in numerous productions. His dedication and hard work have truly paid off, making him an invaluable member of the team.

Emile Petersen

Emile is an accomplished dancer from Cape Town, with a professional career that took off through his love for Hip Hop, as a key member of the Untimitive Dance Company. With an array of talents in performance, teaching and choreography, Emile’s passions have led him to work with numerous companies both domestically and internationally. Emile’s creative talents extend beyond the dance floor, with a keen interest in various filming and creative endeavors. After completing the 3-year, Jazzart Dance Theatre training program, Emile has gone on to become a valuable member of the company as a seasoned dancer.

Lihle Mfene

Lihle Mfene is a passionate company dancer at Jazzart Dance Theatre who graduated from the Cape Academy of Performing Arts in 2020. He received extensive training in drama, singing, and dance disciplines such as ballet, contemporary, jazz, and hip hop. Lihle is also skilled in choreography, acting, voice, and physical theatre, and has a strong background in African dance. His diverse talents have made him a valuable member of the Jazzart Dance Theatre family, where he contributes to their productions and showcases his passion for the arts.

Abigail Overmeyer

Abigail’s passion for dance has been a part of her life since a young age. With training in various genres, she honed her skills at the Christopher Kindo Dance Centre and Cape Junior Ballet. Abigail is an alumni of the Chrysalis Academy/Jazzart Dance Leadership programme and a recent graduate of the 3-year full-time training program. As a valued company member, Abigail brings her talent and dedication to the stage with every performance. Her passion for dance is evident in her work, and her contribution to company works is nothing short of exceptional.

Savannah Petrus

Savannah boasts an impressive background in dance, having dedicated years to training in various styles including ballet, contemporary, and gymnastics prior to embarking on her journey with Jazzart Dance Theatre. After completing the Chrysalis Academy/Jazzart Dance leadership programme she joined the 3-year dance training programme. Savannah has truly honed her skills and emerged as a versatile dancer. She is a valued member of the company, bringing her unique talents to the stage in a range of works by some of the most celebrated choreographers in the industry. Her commitment and dedication to dance continue to inspire and captivate audiences.

Vuyelwa Phota

Vuyelwa is a passionate dancer and choreographer who graduated from The National School of the Arts in 2021. She has experience in a variety of dance styles, including Ballet, Contemporary, Afro-fusion, and Pantsula. She has also choreographed and performed in several productions, including KUYENYUKA. She was hired as a promotional talent for Waterfall City and participated in the JYDC’s 2021 season, performing in Phoenix at The Roodeport Theatre. With her diverse skillset and passion for the art, Vuyelwa continues to make waves in the dance community and is undoubtedly a rising star to watch out for.

Chesney Stanfield

A California native, Chesney trained at the Sarah Cookney Academy of Dance before emigrating to South Africa in 2007. She is a multi-talented performer, teacher and choreographer with expertise in Hip Hop, Contemporary, and Heels. Chesney has performed and taught internationally, and continues to create exciting new works. After completing the Jazzart Dance Theatre 3-year full-time training program, Chesney now stands as a valuable company member, performing in many works by award-winning choreographers. With her dynamic skills and unwavering passion for dance, Chesney is an inspiration to fellow dancers and audience.

Images: Robyn Walker

Read our Requiem – The Journey blog series and discover more behind-the-scenes content, interviews and insights into the production here.