Danza - Dolores Mayán

Danza - Dolores Mayán
Escuela BSdanza

Gladys Faith Agulhas

International Day Dance 2008

Gladys Agulhas : dancing out her dreams


Making your passion pay

The passion with which Gladys Agulhas embraced her "celebration of women in the face of war" dance piece, Safe Harbour, at the recent Dance Umbrella in Newtown, Johannesburg, confirmed that this sister is living and breathing the life she was born to lead. She was inspired to create the work after returning from the "Women's Voices Africa" conference in Senegal earlier this year.

Growing up in Johannesburg's Eldorado Park in the 1970s and '80s, Gladys was first exposed to dance at a young age. "I was about seven when these old white ladies used to come into the township and teach us ballet. I loved dancing from the moment I tried it."

By the time Gladys entered high school, dancing had become her abiding passion. After school she studied at the Johannesburg Art Foundation from 1988-89. "I later joined the (then) Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal (Pact) Contemporary Dance Company and gained a lot of experience working there. I've been freelancing ever since I left the company in 1997."

After years of sweat, toil and running between gigs, Gladys is finally seeing her passion beginning to pay. "There have been times in my life when I've really struggled. These days I'm lucky enough to get some very well-paid jobs. Today I feel completely fulfilled."

Gladys, now a mother of two sons, believes deeply in the power of self-belief and self-motivation. "You have to believe in your work and what you do in order to grow, both as an artist and a human being. The dance world can be very fickle - people often say one thing and mean another. So it's vital to really believe in what you're doing."

Today, not only is Gladys regarded as one of SA's most exciting solo dancers, but her interests have branched off into more "holistic" work. Her company, Agulhas Works, incorporates working with disabled people. "There's a deaf and a crippled dancer in the company, as well as three able-bodied people.

I'm moving on from just being a performer. Now I want to work with things in a more embracing and sustaining way."

Gladys's advice on making your passion pay:

  • Believe in yourself.

  • Put your heart and soul into what you're doing.

  • Your body is your instrument - look after it well!!
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