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The company came into existence in 2013 after a performance creation entitled ‘Unmute’. Unmute was the first ensemble choreographic piece by Andile Vellem. It is based on his experience as a dancer who is deaf. This work was a way of Andile finding his voice as a choreographer, using sign language as the source of the movement vocabulary. He brought together artists from different backgrounds to investigate and explore what they would like to un-mute; feelings, perceptions, social norms and expectations; while endeavouring to deconstruct what society perceives as dance. 

The inception of the company then developed in 2014 after a successful run of the Unmute Production and it was co-founded by Nadine Mckenzie, Mpotseng Shuping, Andile Vellem and Themba Mbuli. Within the 5 years of the company’s existence we have developed 5 inclusive projects that has helped create access and integrate people with and without disability in one environment: Created seven production of which some have toured nationally and abroad in Switzerland, Germany and Russia.


Mckenzie is a qualified integrated dance teacher, receiving training at the ImpulsTanz International Workshop in Vienna 2010. She joined Remix Dance Company (2006) and she had produced exceptional work as a performer on a wheelchair/teacher and has established herself as a well-recognised figure within the performing arts community both nationally and internationally. In 2013 she was nominated for Imbokodo Awards in Dance Category, she received a Tribute Award in the Arts and Culture Category and she was the Mail and Guardian 200 young South African Professional. Mckenzie is the current Artistic Director and co-curator of the Unmute ArtsAbility Festival.


2016 Standard Bank Young Artist Award Recipient, Themba Mbuli received his formal training at Moving Into Dance (MIDM) in 2007. He joined Inzalo Dance Theatre Company as a trainee performer in 2008. In 2009 he was accepted back at MIDM as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. Mbuli’s first ensemble creation Dark City won the Pick of the Fringe award at the FNB Dance Umbrella festival in 2010. In 2011 Mbuli joined Theatre Talipot Company in Reunion Island as a principle dancer. Mbuli began his solo career in 2012 with Dark Cell, performing the work nationally and internationally in 10 countries. His other recent works include Trapped, ASHED, Dark Cells, SOLD, Autho(r)ise and Memory Box. He is a co-founder of Broken Borders Arts Project and Unmute Dance Company. He is currently a freelance performer/choreographer, associate artistic director for UNMUTE and Co-curator for Unmute ArtsAbility Festival.  


Vellem’s professional career began in 1999 at the Open Air School Hall in Durban; he later joined Tshwaragano-In-Touch Integrated Dance Project in 2000/2001. His training includes Acting, Contemporary Dance, Contact Improvisation. In 2000, he was introduced to Adam Benjamin, who is a well known figure and pioneer in Integrated Dance. It is during this time where he developed more understanding, knowledge and passion for integrated works. In 2005 to 2012 he worked as a full-time performer at Remix Dance Company. Vellem is a co-founder and currently an Outreach Coordinator and Resident Choreographer at Unmute Dance Company. 


Shuping was professionally trained by Jazzart Dance Theatre from 1987 - 1991, after her training she continued to work for the company as a professional dancer from 1992 to 1997. Between 1998 and 2004 Shuping focused on her career as a dance teacher, teaching at schools in Cape Town and internationally. In 2005 she joined Remix Dance Company as a performer and teacher. In 2013 she co-founded Unmute Dance Company. She is currently an Outreach Coordinator, teaching integrated dance in schools, Shuping is also a Sign Language interpreter for the UNMUTE.  


Siphenathi Mayekiso grew up in Philippi, Cape Town. He matriculated in 2009 from Athlone School for the Blind and two years later he joined the Magnet Theatre training programme. After graduating in 2013 he joined the Garage Dance Company in Okiep for intense workshops under the tutelage of Alfred Hinkel. As a freelancer he did some puppetry work for UNIMA South Africa, facilitated workshops for the Magnet Theatre Culture Gangs Project, stage managed various productions and performed in a short film, Nommer 27 that scooped two awards in the Kyknet Silver Screen by Gambit Films. He has performed in theatre works such as Dark Cell (2015) by Themba Mbuli and s Marat/Sade (2017) by Jaco Bouwer. He is currently a performer and teacher at Unmute Dance Theatre.


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DF Malan Street
Cape Town 8000


+27 21 410 9872