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December 14, 2007

The Healing Power Of Dance


Vincent Mantsoe is a dancer and choreographer who performs all over the world. Growing up in the townships of South Africa, Vincent was exposed to the rhythms of dance early in life: his mother was a sangoma, or traditional healer. Vincent took part in the healing ceremonies, which went on for days at a time, drumming and later dancing.

One day when he was a young man, he and a friend answered an ad in a local paper which invited applicants to compete for arts scholarships. Vincent had never worn tights before, never so much as warmed up or stretched. Yet he performed outstandingly and won a scholarship.

Some of his friends thought that what he was doing was unmanly. Even his own father was against the idea of Vincent's becoming a professional dancer. His dad wanted Vincent to be a soccer player. But when Vincent traveled to the airport to perform abroad for the first time, his father finally realized that his son was doing exactly what he was called to do.

Vincent talks to Dick Gordon about the healing power of dance. Vincent is currently touring with a performance called "Men-Jaro," which translates to "We are all friends."

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