Choreographer, Art Director, Performing Artist and Designer Tumelo Michael Moloi was born in 1981 in the notorious apartheid-era township of Katlehong, south-east of Johannesburg, South Africa. Michael displayed an amazing talent for sports, arts and dance at a very young age. He began his dance career at age 16 as a member of the highly acclaimed South African dance company Via Katlehong. Michael and the dance troupe performed a mix of the street dance forms known as pantsula (South African town dance) and gumboot (mine workers).
In 1998 Michael was appointed the leader of the successful dance troupe and toured all over South Africa and Europe (France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain). Michael choreographed rhythmically intricate routines that incorporated the gumboot dances, which had their origins in the mines, and the traditional stamping, clapping dances known as ndlamu. Additionally, Michael Moloi designed the traditionally inspired costumes for the Via Katlehong dance shows.
For the next ten years with Via Katlehong, Michael Moloi produced successful international shows for prestigious events worldwide. His highly popular shows introduced African history through a regional cultural lens involving various elements of traditional arts and culture – fashion, music and dance. Michael created choreography, catalyst for new performing arts techniques, incorporating breakdance, mime and narratives/storytelling.
As a brilliant choreographer and renowned performing artist he is remembered for the incredibly difficult technique and dance styles he has created. In November 2003 Tumelo Michael Moloi performed for Nelson Mandela, in Cape Town, South Africa. The concert was hosted by Mandela, to raise awareness of the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Tumelo Michael Moloi shared the stage with many famous artists who supported Mandela’s campaign including Anastacia, Beyonce, Dave Stewart, U2, the Corrs, Queen, etc.
In December 2006 Tumelo Michael Moloi joined Cirque du Soleil, world’s most famous acrobatic troupe. Michael Moloi was noted for his outstanding performance as “Sugar Plum Fairy”, a role he played for eleven years for the highly successful production of Beatles LOVE show. His magnificent performance attracted notable celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Denzel Washington, Fergie, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Antonio Banderas, Cameron Diaz, etc. In 2012 Tumelo Michael Moloi played a lead in the highly acclaimed feature-length documentary “All Together Now”.
Award winning Tumelo Michael Moloi is a dance pioneer. Combining his own extensive training of South African dance styles gumboot and pantsula with modern tap dancing, he has created new art form called “Tap Pantsula”. This new art form incorporates, steps, sound, clapping, clicking and shouting, adapted for traditional African music on the marimba instrument.
In 2008 Tumelo Michael Moloi founded NALEDI Design Company. Michael Moloi handcrafts for artists custom made and unique handmade jewelry and art pieces made from leather, metal, wood, gem stones, beats, copper, brass and recycled materials. His custom design furniture is the cutting edge mix of African, industrial, earthy and modern styles. In 2013 Tumelo Michael Moloi was honored with “Top Artist Design Award” for Naledi Design in the category of “Awards in Extraordinary Talent” by the prestigious NY Elite Magazine.
Tumelo Michael Moloi is the winner of several prestigious awards including Dance Umbrella Award, Gauteng Dance Showcase, KTV Most Brilliant Achievement and Gauteng MEC Development Award. His noted appearances include America Got Talent, Jay Leno, Grammy Awards (50 Years Celebration), FIFA World Cup Promotion, Vodacom Promotion, Music Care 2012, NASCAR 2012, Baseball Dodgers Game 2011, Nkululeko (10 Years of Freedom in South Africa), All Africa Games, World Summit on Sustained FNB Vita Dance, Development, etc.
As part of this residency Michael Moloi is looking for a cast of dancers to work with Monday-Friday, November 8-12 (including Veteran’s Day November 11), 4-6pm. This rehearsal process will include a public showing of the work in process on Friday, November 12 at 6pm in GRX 353/4, as part of a Talk Back facilitated by Brian McWhorter. If you're a UO student interested in being part of Michael’s rehearsal process, please sign up on the call board outside GRX 353 and be prepared to participate fully in all rehearsals (M-F November 8-12) and the final public showing/Talk Back (November 12, 6pm).
Michael Moloi will also be offering combined movement classes on Monday and Wednesday, November 8 and 10, 10-11:30am, in GRX 353/3, a guided tour for students of the Black Lives Matter exhibition with John Weber at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA) on Tuesday, November 9, 12:45-1:50pm.