An exhilarating journey through Africa’s history, culture and spirit, “African Footprint” has set new standards in the world of dance and music.
In 1999, Richard Loring recruited a group of young people from the dusty streets of Soweto. From hundreds of hopefuls, only 30 young aspiring performers were chosen.
The next year was taken up with vocal classes and intensive dance instruction which, for most of these youngsters, was their first opportunity to enter the world of professional theatre.
Mr. Loring had a vision: to create a show that celebrated the diversity of South Africa, uniting the creative talents of choreographers, musicians, writers and performers from all walks of life. He wanted to create a show that reflected the true South Africa, one that captured the sense of history and hope for the future that the people carry in them.
Working closely with choreographers David Matamela and Debbie Rakusin, they created an inspired fusion of Afro- and Euro-centric forms of dance, a style which became a trademark of this award-winning show.
The long hours of rehearsal were rewarded when the company was invited to perform at the Millennial Celebration on Robben Island. On December 31, 1999 the “Stick Dance” was performed in Cell Block B, the very place where former South African President Nelson Mandela had been a prisoner for some 18 years.
The result was an explosive and emotional performance televised around the world and seen by over 250 million viewers.
African Footprint opened May 11, 2000 at the Globe Theatre at the Gold Reef Casino in Johannesburg to an audience of celebrities and dignitaries, such as South African President Thabo Mbeki. It was an instant hit and went on to become not only the first musical to feature a mixed race cast, but also the longest running musical in South African history!
Since its inception, African Footprint has toured to Europe, Australia, China, Israel, India, Mexico, North America, and has been invited for command performances twice before HRH Prince Charles and HRH Prince Phillip.