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Dancing With The Stars SA: Everything You Need To Know About The Pairs

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Dancing With The Stars

Over the past couple of weeks, M-Net revealed the names of the 12 celebs who will be hitting the gleaming dance floor on the dazzling new reality show Dancing With The Stars SA which kicks off on M-Net 101 on Sunday 4 February at 17:00.

Now, meet the magnificent professional dancers who will teach them all the Latin and Ballroom moves as they swing – tango and samba – their way into the hearts of the voting public.

The glamorous couples are:

  • Popular actor and model Eden Classens, who plays the role of Justin in the hit Afrikaans soap Suidooster on kykNET, will be paired up with Ash-Leigh Hunter.

Ash-Leigh is one of Australia’s most dynamic and well-trained Ballroom and Latin performers. She began dancing jazz and ballet at the age of 4 and found her passion for Ballroom and Latin dancing at age 7. Ash-Leigh was a Junior Latin British finalist and was crowned Junior British Jive Champion at the Blackpool Championships. She was also an Australian Junior, Youth and Amateur 10 Dance Champion.

In 2001, Ash-Leigh joined the world-renowned dance production, Burn the Floor, travelling extensively throughout the world, performing on London’s West End and on Broadway. In 2009, she was a finalist on the Australian reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance. Ash-Leigh has since become a regular professional and grand finalist in Australia’s version of Dancing With The Stars and has also assisted a number of choreographers on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing in the UK.

Ash-Leigh has danced for rock band, Deep Purple, and artists like Pixie Lott, Samantha Jade and John Paul Young, and has also performed in the musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

  • Funny man Ebenhaezer Dibakwane, a South African comedian and actor who rose to fame after winning the Newcomer Award at the Savanna Comic’s Choice Awards in 2016 will be paired up with Nombulelo Hlathi.

Nombulelo Hlathi was born into a dancing family, with her dance champion sister inspiring her to embark on a career in the field. Once she began dance classes, Nombulelo relocated to Mafikeng to dance at Mmabana, where she never lost a competition. A versatile dancer, Nombulelo excels in the styles of Ballroom, Freestyle, Rock ‘n Roll and Latin American dance. She went on to join the North West Arts Council, where she continued to compete. Her achievements include winning the Junior South African Championships and The Youth South Africa Championships with her dance partner.

Nombulelo continues to compete around the world, dancing in countries like England and Russia and has appeared on Strictly Come Dancing SA. She has turned her focus to teaching and is eager to bring her coaching skills to her Dancing with the Stars SA partnership.

  • Netball Star Vanes-Mari Du Toit, who is a member of the South African National Netball team and has an impressive 38 caps for South Africa under her belt, will be paired up with Johannes Radebe.

Johannes Radebe got his start in dance at the age of 7 in his hometown of Zamdela in Sasolburg. Fascinated by the discipline, Johannes became the top dancer in the area. He competed in local competitions, working his way up the Latin dance ranks, eventually adding Ballroom and different dance styles that include African Contemporary, Jazz, Modern and Freestyle to his already impressive repertoire. With provincial colors for Gauteng, Johannes reached the finals of national dance competitions and was invited to compete internationally in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Johannes continued to dance internationally, landing a position on the Italian cruise liner, Costa, where he went on to choreograph routines and became the ship’s Dance Captain. Upon his return to South Africa, Johannes appeared on Strictly Come Dancing SA, taking his celebrity partners to the finals during his two seasons on the show. Since then, Johannes and his dance partner won the South African Professional Latin Championships in 2014 and he has toured the world with global dance spectacular, Burn the Floor.

  • Mzansi’s best TV presenter, former Our Perfect Wedding host, actress and DJ Thembisa Mdoda, who is currently also showing off her acting skills onUnmarried on 1 Magic will be paired up with Devon Snell.

Devon Snell has been dancing for almost two decades, specialising in Ballroom and Latin dance. He was crowned the South African Ballroom Champion from the age of 13 and has managed to maintain the title until he retired from competitive dancing in 2011. He was also the undefeated Western Province Ballroom and Latin Dance Champion for his entire dancing career. Devin represented South Africa at the World Dance Council Championships in China, where he and his partner came in sixth place in the world for Ballroom dance.

Devon appeared on and won kykNET’s Die Laaste Waltz and was featured at Ballroom showcase, Shall We Dance for four years. The natural competitor is ready to put his best foot forward and hopes to take his partner all the way to glory.

  • Veteran South African actor Frank Opperman, who turned a slow-witted but smart-mouthed car mechanic called Ouboet into a darling South African icon and created an array of unforgettable, colourful characters throughout his illustrious career will be paired up with Jeanné Swarts.

Beginning her dance career at the age of 3, Johannesburg-born Jeanné Swart is now an accomplished dancer and teacher in the fields of Acrobatics, Tap and Modern dance. With several South African titles to her name, Jeanné represented the country twice at the World Tap Championships in Germany. She has also excelled in Latin dance, winning the South African Latin American Professional Championships twice, the South African Latin American Amateur competition six times and placing 13th at the World Latin American Championships in Paris. Together with fellow DWTS pro, Johannes Radebe, Jeanné represented South Africa at the World Dance Council competitions.

As an accomplished choreographer, Jeanné has conceptualised and choreographed for a number of shows, such as the Soccer World Cup, Telkom’s GCEO Awards and Vodacom’s CEO Awards. She has danced for Miss Portugal 2016, Investec Bank and Big Brother Africa’s opening show. In her spare time, Jeanné participates in worthy causes that include Dance for a Cure Foundation, Dancers for Dogs and Breast Cancer awareness month for Revlon.

  • Actress and performer, Juanita De Villiers, best known for her theatre work and acting roles in movies such as KnysnaSomer SonDie Pro, Willie Esterhuizen’s DroomdagDie Ontwaking and kykNET’s new movie, Hartsorg will be paired up with Johan Dippenaar.

Originally from the coastal town of Walvis Bay in Namibia, Johan Dippenaar grew up in Pretoria, where he started Latin and Ballroom dance at the age of 14. A year later he won various competitions, such as the Gauteng and South African Championships. Johan also reached the final six of the German Open and Final 16 of the Blackpool Dance Festival in England.

Only beginning his formal classical training at the age of 19, Johan went on to earn his National Diploma in Dance from TUT. Since then, he has performed with numerous professional dance companies, including Mzanzi Productions and the Tshwane Dance Theatre. He has worked with local and international choreographers, such as Timothy le Roux, Celeste Botha, Andile Sotiya and Debbie Rakusin. Johan also landed the lead role in French choreographer, Rheda Benteifour’s production of Redha’sGiselle and Crash Dance. Recently, Johan has appeared in local productions such as Classics is Groot and Afrikaans is Groot.

  • Former Miss SA Liesl Laurie, who is a presenter on popular radio station Jacaranda FM, and is the international brand ambassador of L’Oreal – Vichy Laboratoires in SA, USA and Brazil will be paired up with Ryan Hammond.

Ryan Hammond was born into a dancing family and began dancing at 7 years old. He soon started competing in Freestyle and Disco dancing and became the South African champion. Ryan then shifted focus to Latin American and Ballroom dancing, travelling abroad to train and compete. He turned professional in 2005 and became the 3-time British Show Dance champion.

Ryan reached the semi-finals of UK’s Got to Dance and won Strictly Come Dancing SA in 2013. Since then, Ryan has choreographed TV shows and music videos, and toured around the UK with Pascha Kovalev.  As a qualified IDTA Freestyle and Latin American instructor and adjudicator, Ryan has competed and performed around South Africa and the UK for years.

  • Wayde van Niekerk’s mother, Odessa Swarts, who was lauded for lighting up the South African athletics world and broke many sporting records – having competed provincially as a track-and-field athlete in the late 1980s and early 1990s will be paired up with Dylon Daniels.

Dylon began dancing at the age of 7 at Richard’s Dance School, after which he moved to a Latin dance school. Dylon found great success once he started competing, winning the 2008 South African Championships, the 2010 Under-16 South African Championships and reaching the finals at national level since 2011. He has also competed internationally, placing 13th at the British Dance Open.

He has worked with incredible coaches, including DanceSport’s Michael Wentink, becoming involved in the popular Pro/Am category. This field entails a collaboration between a professional and amateur dance partner, where they form a dance partnership and participate together in a dance competition. Dylon will also be  bringing his experience as a dance instructor to Dancing With The Stars.  He has taught a variety of styles that include Latin, Ballroom and Hip Hop dancing.

  • Film and TV starlet Zola Nombona who won the 2016 Golden Horn Award for best lead actress for her work in the movie Ingoma. Zola is also well known for her roles in several TV series such as Intersexions, LockdowniNumber iNumber, and Love Lives Here will be paired up with Tebogo Mashilo.

Tebogo Mashilo is a professional Ballroom dancer and choreographer. His talent was nurtured by dance legend, Tebogo Kgobokoe, who coached him at TKE dance studio. Tebogo’s achievements include winning the Dance SuperSeries, performing in Sun City’s massive production, Rumba in the Jungle, and representing South Africa in the Dance World Championships in Paris.

Outside of dance, Tebogo studied Human & Social Sciences with a focus in Psychology. He will use his insight and understanding of people while crafting meaningful routines for his celebrity partner.

  • Singer-songwriter Connell Cruise, who signed the biggest recording deal in South African music history after being spotted by music legend L.A. Reid will be paired up with Marcello Soliemo.

Marcella Solimeo began learning ballet as soon as she learned how to walk. At 8 years old, she moved to Milan in Italy to study Modern Dance and soon after started competing in the style of Latin dance. Marcella won many regional titles and represented South Africa in the Blackpool British Open Dance Festival. She was able to dance in the USA in the much-loved spectacular, Burn the Floor, and reached the top 24 of So You Think You Can Dance SA. Since then, toured around England, Wales and Scotland with Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis on their Strictly Come Dancing tour.

Marcella spent time dancing on popular local music shows, Afrikaans is Groot, as well as performing as a soloist on Classics is Groot. She was a featured performer at Vodacom’s CEO Awards and, more recently, took on the role of Dance Captain for the Tailormade Group, where she also assisted in choreography.

  • Former Bafana Bafana soccer star Delron Buckley who played in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups and represented SA in the 2000 Sydney Olympic games will be paired up with Angelique Allison.

Angelique Allison started dancing at the age of 4 and has had a burning passion for dance ever since. She started competing in Freestyle dance and was later accepted into Pro Arte, a performing arts school, where she studied ballet, Spanish dancing and Jazz. During her dance schooling, Angelique was a company member of the Youth Ballet Company of Tshwane for three years and performed in productions such as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and as the lead in Coppelia.

Angelique received numerous choreographic awards during this period and went on to choreograph for various events and theatre shows for the State Theatre, The Performer and The Atterbury Theatre. She also choreographed and performed at album launches for artists such as Amor Vittone and CH2. Since then, Angelique danced in Sun City’s extravaganza and shifted her focus on training in Latin American and Ballroom dance. Angelique is also a well-rounded fitness instructor, with experience in Pilates, Aerobics and Zumba.

  • Former Springbok Thando Manana, best known for being the third black South African player to don a Springbok jersey. He now spends his time as a rugby commentator, pundit and member of the infamous Room Dividers team on Metro FM will be paired up with Michelle Oppenshaw.

Michelle is one of South Africa’s most versatile dancers, having been a national champion in not only Latin American dancing but also in Showdance, Disco, Rock ‘n Roll, Hustle, Freestyle, Hip Hop as well as various street dance styles.

Michelle appeared on the big screen as a dancer in Honey 3, and has danced, taught and choreographed both nationally and internationally, including working with local music sensation, Mi Casa.

Being the owner and principal instructor of two of South Africa’s renowned dances studios, Michelle has developed her own form of teaching and choreographing using movement and psychology.  Her unique approach to dance landed her the position of Head Choreographer for the highly-esteemed event and entertainment company, Frog Productions. She is also Africa’s only elite qualified world judge for the prestigious Hip Hop International Championships.

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TV

Tom Swartz Wins Survivor South Africa: Phillipines!

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Tom Swartz wins Survivor South Africa

Despite rubbing almost every other Castaway up the wrong way at some stage during the course of this season, Adventure Camp Manager Tom Swartz still convinced the Survivor South Africa: Philippines Jury to award him the R1 Million prize money and title of ‘Sole Survivor’.

The announcement was made during tonight’s gripping two-hour Survivor SA Finale (16 August), broadcast live on M-Net 101, from Cape Town.

Tom Swartz wins Survivor South Africa

While he celebrated his win, M-Net brought viewers more good news: a seventh South African season of the world’s greatest game has been confirmed. Entries are open via www.mnet.tv/survivorsa, with the show set to air in 2019.

So, how did Tom make it all the way to the top?

Having broken his promise to not vote against Werner last week after Jeanne convinced him he didn’t stand a chance against the Pastor before the Jury, Tom knew that a victory in the final Individual Immunity Challenge this week would be crucial – not just because it would guarantee him a spot in the Final Two, but also because it would offer him an unprecedented advantage in changing the composition of the Jury by voting one of its members off, before making a case for the Million.

It wasn’t to be, though, as he lost focus first during the mesmerizing final challenge and left Jeanne to claim the pivotal victory over Annalize when the latter faltered.

The result handed all the power to Jeanne, and as she sketched out possible voting scenarios in the sand back at the Araw beach, she made the call to take Tom along to the Final with her, likely betting that the run-ins he’d had with multiple members of the Jury would count in her favour when it came to their final vote.

After voting to send Annalize to join the Jury, she picked off Werner for the second time in a week, voting him off the Jury and leaving the Final Two’s fate in their hands.

Having spent their 39th and final day on the remote island they’d come to think of as home, Jeanne and Tom put their case to the Jury at the Final Tribal Council, on the back of the three pillars of Survivor – ‘Outwit’, ‘Outlast’ and ‘Outplay’.

The Jury didn’t give either of them an easy ride, probing Jeanne’s perceived lack of effort around camp and grilling Tom about the effects of his ‘Alpha Male’ behaviour throughout the game.

When host Nico Panagio opened the famous voting urn at the live finale in Cape Town, a visibly-relieved Tom was finally able to celebrate after months of anxiously awaiting the result – one which also handed him other amazing prizes including an electronics hamper from sponsors Huawei and a Huawei P20 Pro.

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TV

Real Housewives of Johannesburg: Evodia and Christall Come To Blows!

Christally Kay and Evodia Mogase had the biggest fight about flies and sneaking around in people’s bedrooms.

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Real Housewives of Johannesburg Recap, Evodia and Christy fight

Christall must be ruing over her decision to launch herself into people’s bedrooms to check out the scene without their consent. Except, she’s throwing even more swift shade at Evodia!

Tonight on the Real Housewives of Johannesburg, Evodia dragged her to filth for snooping around last week when she had popped in as a guest. Ironically, the confrontational blow out took place at Christall’s place, who couldn’t be bothered one bit by Evodia’s tantrum.

In fact, Christall is the one who initiated the shade fest; She suggested Evodia should come and have a look at her enviable closet because she felt Madame would “benefit greatly from that.” The underhanded swipe comes after Christall rebukes Evodia and her daughter for living in a house with a messy bedroom, whose beds she described as completely devoured by clothing that “touched the ceiling.”

RELATED: Why We Are Obsessed With The Real Housewives of Johannesburg!

Not one to take the mudslinging laying low, the feisty Evodia was quick to shoot back and show Christall the clock. Evodia was livid that Christall had the nerve to bring up the shameless bedroom peeping.

In fact, she went as far as claiming that some of her make up is now missing because Christall came around in the fattest of purses, making her the primary suspect concerning the whereabouts of Evodia’s face beat.

Christall, being Christall – the show’s standout villain – didn’t care that much about the social etiquette around not launching oneself into people’s bedrooms when you are a guest at their house.

She summarised the whole situation as an ‘accident’ that happened because Evodia’s house is much smaller than hers. Not done with the shade, she continued to blame the presence of flies at her house to “people who’ve been coming here lately.”

Related: Get To Know Top Billing’s Freshest Face 

These two have created the perfect dichotomy of drama for this show. One is a funny, entertaining straight shooter with quotables for days. The other is a shady AF, basically. We are keeping an eye.

Elsewhere, Mercy is still determined to get the girls to understand her vegan lifestyle. No one in this circle of women has displayed any cares about her healthy choices, especially after they came up when she requested a vegan menu at Brinnette’s traditional wedding. Things kind of went down hill from there, which could explain why no one showed up at her vegan lunch last. Except for Christall of course, who came for the bedrooms.

Speaking of Christall… what’s with ol’ girl and all the claims? She was once #55 on Billboard Hot 100? Hottest Pop star on earth? Lawyer too? So many claims, too little evidence, so far.

Were you watching? Comment below about your favoutire moments and honest thoughts on this episode.

 

 

 

 

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Interviews

Getting To Know Top Billing’s Freshest Face – Dr. Fez Mkhize!

Sexy Khabazela! Get to know Top Billing’s newest addition to the Top Billing presenter family – Dr. Fezile Mkhize!

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A sexy doctor is right up there with the most clichè of these fantasies.

And it seems a certain Dr. Fezile Mkhize is exactly what the patients have ordered! At least, Top Billing viewers will be getting a consistent dose of the charming new face, who’s one of four new presenters joining the SABC family on various shows.

Fezile Mkhize Top Billing

Mkhize landed the gig after making quite the impression of the channel’s third season of Presenter Search on 3, where he paced past aspirant hopefuls to woo a judging panel with DJ Fresh, Patience Stvens, Sbusiso Kumalo and Jeannie D! While the show initially sought to find threw new presenters, the level of talent was so impressive that Fez will be starting alongside other winners Harmony Katulondi, Ryle De Morny, Palesa Tembe and Thabiso Makhubela.

It’s girlfriend who convinced to audition (he’s got one, yes!), and the rest is televised history. Get to know him!

What has been the highlight of your time on Presenter Search on 3?

The entire experience has been amazing! However, if I had to choose one thing it would be the ability to meet and get to bounce ideas off and share goals with all my fellow contestants along the way. They are all poised to be break-out entertainers and to able to make those connections has been invaluable.

What has been the biggest lesson this experience has taught you?

Hard work is paramount. I’ve always known that hard work can lead to success but this experience has shown me that even when you think the chips are down – keep pushing because it will leave you in good stead for the next obstacle that comes your way.

How would you describe your presenting style?

Ever growing! I came in trying to embody so many of the presenters I believe are brilliant at what they do but as this journey unfolded, I’ve been helped to use my own voice. My presenting style then seems to be a mix of goofball next door with a twist of David Attenborough, all smothered in a secret sauce.

Your girlfriend is the one who encouraged you to audition. When you broke the news to her, what was her reaction?

A lot of ecstatic laughter and she was quick to remind me who really got me there. She’s always had unwavering confidence in this path I’ve taken and through it all has been a pillar of encouragement so she deserves congratulations just as much as I do.

What are you going to be bringing to Top Billing?

It’s a new era for the show and I know the other guys feel the same. I want to maintain the high standard it’s always been known for with a huge dose of whimsy, energy and most importantly heart!

Describe the moment you heard your name and were officially one of the winners of Presenter Search on 3.

I’m just a kid from a small town on the South Coast. You can’t prepare yourself for news like that. To hear it, I don’t know what that feeling can be described as, but I hope everyone feels it at least once in their life

Now that you have stepped into your role on Top Billing, have the first few episodes been everything you thought it would be or have there been a few surprises for you?

Thanks to Presenter Search on 3, I had a good idea of what was required when it came to the shoots and inserts but there is a new zeal that comes with knowing that you are on your own show – especially when that show is Top Billing! I have been absolutely energized being able to shoot for the show.

Do you have any rituals you do in order to prepare yourself before a shoot?

Research! Before any insert I always try to make sure I’ve familiarised myself with my guest for that insert, over and above the work out amazing research team does. It allows for more organic interaction and also allows for the viewer to gain a deeper appreciation for the guest.

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