Growing up in Johannesburg in the 90s, Andile Ndlovu's dream was to become a soccer star, but instead, his nimble feet took him from the pitch to the stage.
He began Latin dancing at the age of 10 and was eventually tricked into a ballet audition when he was 15.
The rest, as they say, is history.
These days, at the age of 31, he is a professional dancer with the Washington Ballet and last year became the first South African to be nominated for the Benois de la Danse – often referred to as the Oscars of ballet.
Ndlovu is currently back in South Africa dancing the role of Prince Florimund in the Cape Town City Ballet's production of Sleeping Beauty at the Artscape.
Ndlovu tells the story of how he came to be spotted by the Washington Ballet while performing in the South African National Ballet competition.
The director of the Washington Ballet came over to me and offered me a scholarship to do a summer school there.— Andile Ndlovu, Ballet dancer
Ndlovu says he takes very seriously his role as a trailblazer and mentor for those dancers who wish to follow in his footsteps.
When you're on the way to the top you cannot ignore what is coming behind you and you cannot ignore what's in front of you.— Andile Ndlovu, Ballet dancer
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Tonight we dance 🤩I cannot wait to dance this ballet again. This time is definitely a different experience with both my partner and I being dancers of color and registering ourselves in the history books.. . .#balletdancer #thesleepingbeauty #blackdancers #worldballet #balletworldwide #balletboy #boysofballet #prince
Listen to the full interview below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : The SA ballet star defying race and gender stereotypes