Associate Professor

Head of Section, Dance

tel: +27 (0)21 650 3524

email: gerard.samuel@uct.ac.za

Academic Qualification/ Education

  • 2016     PhD from University of Cape Town, South Africa. Thesis entitled Dancing the other in South Africa.
  • 2002     MA from Drama and Performance Studies Programme of the University of Natal, Durban, South Africa. Thesis entitled The Emergence of Intercultural dialogues - children, disability and dance in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • 1994     Diploma in Ballet from Faculty of Music, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Current and most recent employment

  • Currently Associate Professor and Head of the Dance Section within the Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies, a department within the Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town, since January 2019.  Co-author of the merger between the former Drama department and 84 yr old School of Dance. Implemented new curricula, since 2018.
  • Lectures in Dance History, Classical Ballet, Dance Pedagogy, Arts Management, Disability arts and African Dance studies ( since May 2008). Supervisor of Honours, Masters and PhD students in Dance, since 2008.

Leading of research projects

  • Project leader of Dance for film research project funded by the Gordon Institute of Creative Arts in 2010.  Published ‘Place of Grace’
  • Dramaturg on a joint research project with the University of Texas and University of KwaZulu-Natal and produced the musical ‘West Side Story’.
  • Project leader of the Red Apples Green Apples integrated arts education research project for children in Copenhagen, Denmark and Cape Town, South Africa. Funded by the Danish Agency for Science and Innovation and Danish Cultural Institute in 2016 & 2017.


  • Held two terms of office as Director: School of Dance from May 2008 to July 2017 when the School of Dance was still an independent department and former ballet school.
  • Current Head of Dance Section since January 2019

Management experience

  • Chair of Confluences conference (2019, 2017, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2008), a continuous scholarly platform for dance from the southern African region since 1997 .
  • Artistic Manager of The Playhouse Company, the regional performing arts council ( incl. Opera House & Drama Theatre)   2004 – 2007.

Scientific focus areas

  • Contemporary Dance in South Africa and the nexus it offers for reimagining of notions of Other and Body. It is located in Dance and Performance Studies: Disability arts, Dance Pedagogy, Afro-contemporary Dance, Dance History, Modern/Contemporary Dance, Choreographic Studies and Dance Criticism. Through Post-colonial and phenomenological readings, I continue to investigate subfields of Dance discourse such as ballet, children’s dance theatre, dance as social healing, and performativity of the archive. 

International relationships

  • Project collaborator in the research of formation of Dance Teachers with Hilke Diemer and Ingrid Stoepker, Codarts, Rotterdam since 2009.
  • ERASMUS + Staff Mobility grant (exchange with A/prof Charlotte Svendler Nielsen, University of Cape Town, South Africa, 2018).
  • Published Author in Post-Apartheid Dance many bodies many voices many stories. Published by Cambridge Scholars in 2012.
  • Published Author in Dance, Access and Inclusion (Burridge & Svendler Nielsen, 2018) and co-author with Alan Parker for Dancing Across Borders (Svendler Nielsen & Burridge, in 2020).
  • Project partner in the North-South strategic network “Knowledge production, archives and artistic research” led by the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, UCPH and including University of Cape Town as the third partner. Funded by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation (Apr. 2016-Dec.2017).
  • Founder and Editor of the South African Dance Journal , peer reviewed journal with contributions from UK, Netherlands, Uganda and USA since 2011.
  • Collaboration with National Arts Council South Africa to raise bursaries for students (ZAR400K) since 2009.
  • Project collaborator in the research of Dance & Alterity with Prof Ida Mara Freire, University of Santa Catarina, Florianopolis, Brazil and Prof Mariene Hundertmarck-Perobelli, University of Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil in 2013 & 2016.

Supervision of Post Graduate (PhDs and MA only) students in the past five years


  • Jill Pribyl, study based in Uganda on Dance, Musical theatre and Gender (started in 2018) ,
  • Joslyn Anderson study based in Dance , Masculinities and Pedagogies based in KwaZulu-Natal (started in 2018)


  • Amy Dean study on Classical ballet dancers and career transitioning (started in 2020),
  • Ilona Frege study based in Namibia & South Africa (will graduate at the University of Cape Town in 2019).
  • Saranya Devan study based in Chennai, India and South Africa (started in 2019),
  • Bernice Valentyn study based in Sweden and South Africa ( graduated in 2018),
  • Jacki Job study based in Butoh and ballet ( graduated in 2016) ,
  • Juliet Jenkin study based in choreography: choral pattern in South Africa (graduated in 2016 [co-supervisor])