Tshabalala’s residency stemmed from a partnership UKZN has with the Andrew Mellon Foundation in which the University plays host to various prominent South African and African artists in an interface between arts academia and the desire to grow and support practice-led disciplines.
Tshabalala was also involved with the Centre for Creative Arts JOMBA! festival showcasing his own work and a unique premiere of a collaboration with Durban’s FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY.
‘I had never previously worked in Durban so it has been very interesting for me to interact and collaborate with artists here,’ said Tshabalala. ‘It has allowed me to expand my creative ability and to research my new solo titled “Zann”.’
On the artist-in-residency programme, he said: ‘In South Africa, there are only a few residencies where creators have an opportunity to explore ideas without expecting any big outcomes. This programme gives artists a platform to interrogate their artistic approach and also provides employment.’
During his three months at UKZN, he shared his choreographic approach with students of the UKZN Drama programme. His working methodology of improvisation as a working tool towards choreography was on show during a final performance by third-year dance students at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.
Tshabalala, based in Gauteng, was the 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist recipient for Dance and in 2018 received the Black Excellence Award in Chicago Illinois (USA). He choreographs and performs his work locally and internationally, and one of his presentations, Between, was part of Dance Dialogue Africa which toured Germany and then Africa playing in12 countries and 14 cities.
In early 2015, he worked with a writer from Cape Town, Nanziwe Mzuzu, on an ETV documentary inspired by his latest solo titled Man.
He also has worked with children from the Kliptown Youth Programme on two dance movies, which were runners-up for a short film competition in Paris.
Tshabalala is currently a co-founder and one of the directors for the Broken Borders Art Project.