MBULELO NDABENI

Founder, Director. Choreographer, Dancer and Teacher

Mbulelo is a South African born London-based dancer, choreographer, teacher, movement director and artistic director, founder of  Mbulelo Ndabeni N’da dance.
ADAD Trailblazer fellow 2015-2016 and One Dance UK mentoring programme 2015-2016 participant and recipient of Arts Council England Grants for Arts 2015, including Dancers Career Development grant.


Growing up in South Africa, he trained with Dance For All in Cape Town, Khayelitsha from the age of 11years old. While in South Africa he worked with Cape Town City Ballet, performing works by choreographers including Veronica Paeper, Robert North and Rudi van Danzig. In 2004 Mbulelo won a scholarship from the David Poole Trust, chaired by Harold King, allowing him to pursue further training at the London Studio Centre. He was also awarded a scholarship by Kristine Elliott to study at the San Francisco Academy of Ballet for their Summer Intensive and at Kaatsbaan in New York.

After graduating from London Studio Centre, he joined Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, touring nationally and internationally with the award-winning Swan Lake for two years. He was a member of Rambert from 2007-2014, and in his seven years there, he performed in works by many leading choreographers including Merce Cunningham, Christopher Bruce, Javier du Frutos, Henri Oguike, Doug Varone, Paul Taylor, Itzik Galili, Siobhan Davies, Mark Baldwin, Henrietta Horn, Tim Rushton, Barak Marshall and Ashley Page.

In addition to his work with Rambert, Mbulelo has also performed in a short film by Robin Schmidt, in 2012, performed with Baaba Maal featuring Angelique Kidjo and Senegalese Musicians at the Royal Festival Hall, and Fukiko Takase for an evening of works by Random Dance, which was later performed in Tokyo.

By 2014 he started his freelance career as part of the creative team, dancer/rehearsal director for ‘Inala’, co-produced by Sadler’s Wells and Sisters Grimm featuring the Award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival. In 2015 – principal dancer in “Tristan und Isolde” for Longborough Festival Opera choreographed by Didy Veldman. He was awarded a place as a choreographer at Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Choreographers and Composer’s Lab.

Mbulelo has been a guest artist at Company Wayne McGregor “ATOMOS”, “FAR” and “Outlier” which toured nationally and internationally and Company Chameleon “Beauty of the Beast” Edinburg Fringe 2015.

Mbulelo is passionate about choreography and from his early days of training he has created works for the Cape Town City Ballet, ADAD’s Bloom Festival, the English National Ballet School, Rambert’s season of new choreography, Cloud Dance Festival. His works have been performed at venues including Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis, Royal Opera House Linbury Studio Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Place Theatre, Bernie Grant Arts Centre and Artscape Theatre Cape Town. This has led to Mbulelo establishing his own company Mbulelo Ndabeni N’da Dance, to continue the development of his own work and as a platform to collaborate with other artists.

2015 Commissions –  The Print Room at the Coronet –  “Beholder of Beauty” – 1898 Dance Festival”, Horniman Museum – “vUka” – Africa Late. Mbulelo was the movement director for the Royal Shakespeare’s production of Hamlet (2016) at Stratford Upon Avon. Mbulelo produced his first Solo work ‘NaY’ in collaboration with Yemalla drummers, composer Roberto David Rusconi and lighting designer Yaron Abulafia which premiered at The Place Theatre ( May 2016), with additional funding from Arts Council England Grants for Arts, One Dance UK, Crowdfunding and The Place Theatre. He created new work for Artistry Youth Dance titled ‘I Matter’, Middlesex University ‘NNN’ and a commission by DRAF and Lowry collaborating with Fukiko Takase and Goshka Macuga in ‘End of Line’.

Mbulelo is also a freelance Afro-fusion, ballet and contemporary dance teacher at London contemporary dance school, The Place, The Place CAT programme, Rambert learning and participation as well as youth groups around the UK and Internationally.