“I ran away from home between the ages of six and eight years old. I lived as a street kid in different parts of Tanzania for over 10 years. When I moved to the city (Dar es Salaam) I didn't have a place to stay. I joined different gang groups specializing in snatching and stealing vehicles parts for a living. I would have been dead by now but Art saved me and gave me a new life and I have found a new home in dance.”- Samwel Japhet
Samwel Japhet, is a Tanzanian dance-movement artist, using dance-movement and performance as artistic expression for story-telling, expressing ideas and creating a space for reflection, awareness and discussion through dance and performance. Graduated with a Diploma in contemporary and Tanzanian traditional dances from the MuDa Africa Dance School in Tanzania. He is a founding member and artistic director of a Dar es Salaam based Nantea Dance Company and co-curator of Contemporary Dance Night, a platform for young Tanzania and African contemporary dance artists in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Started is artistic journey at the Centre for streets children Makini Organization from 2009 – 2013 in Dar es Salaam, where he trained in traditional, modern dance and theatre and where had his very first live performance experiences. In 2013 he attended a 3-year professional training course at MuDa Africa Dance School in Dar es Salaam. During his professional training he trained and worked with international companies and choreographers from different backgrounds. Following his graduation, he has continuously been participating in festivals, residencies, projects and trainings around the world, in UK, South Korea, Ethiopia, Germany, South Africa, Japan, Senegal, Portugal, Rwanda, Russia, Uganda and Kenya.
In 2016 he began his choreographic solo works, with Children of the New World, premiered at the Adey International Dance Festival in Ethiopia in 2017, since then the work has been performed in (Finland) at ACCAC Culture Festival 2021, (Germany) at TanzTangente Dance Festival 2020, in (Portugal) at MEXE International Community Arts Festival 2019, in (South Africa) at My Body My Space; Public Arts Festival 2018 in (Tanzania) at An evening of Celebration & Transformation of Ending Violence Against Children by the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) 2018 in Tanzania. In 2019 he made his second solo work ‘On The Other Side of Being’, which has been performed at the My Body My Space; Public Arts Festival 2019 in South Africa, Sejong International Dance Festival in South, Korea, TanzTangente Dance Festival 2020 in Germany and Let’s Dance International Fronties 2020 in the UK.
Samwel has worked with choreographers such as Faustin Lenyekula (DRC, Congo), Johannes Wieland (Germany), Yolanda Gutiérrez & Projects (Hamburg, Mexico), Aloyce Makonde (Tanzania).
In his works, Samwel reflects to things and situations that are happening in our daily lives and within our societies, as part of human experiences and existence, and resonated through his own experience as part of his existence and perceptives. Consequently, his work, is creating a space for awareness, reflection and discussion through dance and performance. He is driven by the people he live with and our shared moments. He want is work to be experienced in the moment, because we all only ever can truly connect in the present moment. He hopes to challenge existing perspectives while giving room for new perspectives and using dance as a language to help address and brining awareness on social problems.
2010 - present
Performances & Festivals
April 2021, Dansi Pamoja na Jamii - Onyesha Thamani a collaborative performance in public spaces between @nanteadance and @girls_powerdance_tz under the artistic direction of Samwel Japhet, the performance promotes the idea of men and women living together as equals and offers critiques about the present circumstances in the city of Dar Es Salaam and Tanzania in general.
This project is supported as part of the “feel free” cultural grant funding by @nafasiartspace with The Embassy of Switzerland in Tanzania.
April 2021, premierre at the Little Theatre in Dar es Salaam, of A MOMENT - WAKATI, a dance duet performance & film projection, concept, choreography and performance by Tadhi Alawi and Samwel Japhet
Original Music by: Shabani Mugado
Projection film shot and edited by: Jimmy Mathias
Production: Nantea Dance Company
Jan - April 2021, MuDa Africa Dance School, a 3 months intensive teachings and working with MuDa Africa Dance School's 2nd year students and choreographed a new commissioned work IKIWA KUNA WAKATI WOWOTE - IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME, MuDa Africa's Time2Dance Festival 2021.
Let's Dance International Fronties 2020 by the Serendipity in UK, presented a solo work 'On The Other Side of Being', as part of the Alternative LDIF20
Africa Moment International Performing Arts Meeting. in Barcelona, Spain, presented a commissioned film “Woga meets Fear” December 2020.
A film by: Nkwabi Nshoma and Samwel Japhet
Directed by: Samwel Japhet, Original idea by: Aïda Colmenero Diaz
Shot and edited by: Minz Mims, Assisted by: Jimmy Mathias
Sounds and Music by: Nshoma Nkwabi, Pan Sonic - Vaihtovirta & Last time - Starbeats , Produced by: Africa Moment dar es salaam 2020
ArtsAbility Arts Festival October 2020, in South Africa, presented "I am Therefore You are" organized by the Unmute Dance Company.
Time2Dance Festival October 2020, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, presented a commissioned part of A MOMENT, as part of the Dansi Tena, Time2Dance Festival 2020.
Concept – choreography and performance: Tadhi Alawi and Samwel Japhet
Music composer: Shabani Mugado, Photographies: Jimmy Mathias. Videographer: Minzi Mims, Production: Nantea Dance Company
TanzTangente Dance Festival February 2020, in Berlin, Germany, presented two dance productions 'On The Other Side Of Being' and Children of the New World' and gave a two days dance workshops during the festival. Thanks to the generous support from the Goethe Insititut Guest Performance in Germany.
ACCAC One World, One Family Conference & Cultural Exchange Festival November 2019 in Iksan, South Korea, a colloration dance performance
'Suuf Doole', choreography and performance by: Daniel Ahifon (Benin), Eunjung Kwon-Lee (South Korea), Samuel Kwizera (Rwanda) and Samwel Japhet (Tanzania).
22and Cheonan Int'l Dance Festival in Cheonan November 2019 in South Korea, a dance solo performance 'Short And Tall', Choreography and Performance by: Samwel Japhet.
Music By: Anna Altes and Sigur Rós – Varðeldur
세종국제무용제, Sejong International Dance Festival, October 2019 in South Korea, a dance solo performance 'On The Other Side of Being', Concept, Choreography, Performance by: Samwel Japhet.
Music by: Andy Cowton & Michael Edragon
Seoul International Dance Festival (SIDance) October, 2019 in South Korea), 'VURUGU' a dance collaboration performance by; Ngoc Anh Pham, Vietnam, Jorge Abraham Guillen Ortiz, Mexico, Samuel King Kwizera, Rwanda, Aime Irasema Sánchez, Mexico, Samwel Japhet, Tanzania, as part of the Asia & Africa & Latin America Dance Exchange and Cultural Partnership Initiative 2019.
Co-produced: Cultural Partnership Program (CPI), Seoul International Dance Festival (SIDance 서울세계무용축제)). Supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Korean Foundation for International Culture Exchange (KOFFICE).
5th edition of the MEXE_International Art and Community Festival, September 2019, in Porto, Portugal, a dance solo performance about child abuse "Children of the New World", Concept, choreography and performance by: Samwel Japhet.
Music by: Hukwe Zawose, Olafur Arnalds Light Desgner by: Emmanuel Mathias
My Body My Space: Public Arts Festival, organized by the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, April 2019 in (Mpumalanga, South Africa), Solo performance "On The Other Side Of Being", with the generous support from the Pro Helvetia Johannesburg - Swiss Arts Council through the Ant Mobility Funding Program financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
Concept and Performance by: Samwel Japhet
Music by: Andy Cowton & Michael Edragon Video
by: Gertrude Faith and edited by: Jerr Mathias
Light Desgner by: Shadrack Maluli
Time2Dance International Contemporary Dance Festival | Performance "Inabidi uangalie upande mwingine" Choreography by Johannes Wieland (Germany, New York), dancer and performer. Supported by the Goethe-Institut and the MuDa Africa Dance School. September-October 2018 in Dar es Salaam - Tanzania
Haba Na Haba International Traditional and Contemporary Dance Festival | Performance "The Body in the End of Times" Concept-Choreography by Yolanda Gutiérrez (Hamburg), Funded by Goethe-Institut and authority for culture and media. Produced by ASEDEVA and yolanda gutiérrez & projects. May 2018 in Dar es Salaam - Tanzania
Haba Na Haba International Traditional and Contemporary Dance Festival | performance "SHOUT", concept-choreographed by Samwel Japhet and performed by: Waziri Zuberi, Tadhi Alawi, Salum Kabassa, Zefania Ezekiel, Christopher Joseph, Mussa Suleiman and Samwel Japhet.
In Co-Production with; Haba Na Haba International Tradtional and Contemporary Dance Festival (March 2018) at Nafasi Arts Space. Contemporary Dance Night Event organized by Nantea Dance Festival (February 2018) at Alliance Francaise, Dar es Salaam. Production by: Nantea Dance Company 2018 in Dar es Salaam - Tanzania
My Body My Space: Public Arts Festival, organized by the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, March 2018 in (Mpumalanga, South Africa), a dance solo about child abuse "Children of the New World" With the generous support from the Pro Helvetia Johannesburg and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation through the Ant Mobility funding programme.
Concept, choreography and performance by: Samwel Japhet
Music by: Hukwe Zawose, Olafur Arnalds and other collected music by Samwel Japhet. Light Desgner by: Emmanuel Mathias
Kalapapla Festival of Arts and Cultures in collaboration with the NFPMA, November 2017 in (Nairobi, Kenya), and Batalo East Festival in (Kampala, Uganda) August 2017. Chor, "Short and Tall" a dance duet by Tadhi Alawi and Samwel Japhet, with a generous support from the British Council/East African Arts Mobility Grant for East African Artists.
Adey International Dance Festival, organized by Destino Dance Company October 2017 | Dance solo about child abuse "Children of the new World" in (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia).
Concept, choreography and performance by: Samwel Japhet
Music by: Hukwe Zawose, Olafur Arnalds
Light Desgner by: Emmanuel Mathias
Bagamoyo Festival of Arts and Culture/ Tasuba School of Arts in Bagamoyo Tanzania | Chor, "SHORT and TALL" by Nantea Dance Company September 2017 with the support from MuDa Africa Dance School.
Haba Na Haba Traditional and Contemporary Dance Festival | chor, "UTU" by Nantea Dance Company choreographed and performed by Salum Kabassa, Tadhi Alawi and Samwel Japhet May 2017 in Dar es Salaam - Tanzania.
Production by: Nantea Dance Company 2016
Time 2 Dance Contemporary Dance Festival | Chor, Because it’s you, by Robert Guy from PantaRei Dance Theater (Norway). Tambiko, chor. Ian Mwaisunga,
Muda Africa School Teacher (Tanzania) October 2016.
East African Nights of Tolerance Dance Festival | Chor, "UTU" by Nantea Dance Company in (Kigali - Rwanda) November 2016.
Exchange & Residencies
September - November 2020
kanda yetu 2020 closed physical borders - opening new creative boundaries! working and collaborating with Vasco Pedro Mirine from Mozambique under the mentorship of Horacio Macuacua from Mozambique/Spain
June - July 2020
The participating artists from SADC countries will participate remotely in the intensive programme of workshops, master classes and crits towards the production of creative research and new dance-based works.
Meeting between the international dance schools Ecole Des Sables | Senegal & P.AR.T.S | Belgium as part of the DanceExchange between 10 young African choreographers and Masters students from P.A.R.T.S to be part of the dance exchange between P.A.R.S.T.S and Ecole Des Sables in Senegal January-Februrary 2020.
Asia- Africa- Latin America Dance Exchange 2019, hosted by Seoul Section of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO, organised as a part of Cultural Partnership Initiative Program 2019 supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of South Korea (MCST) and the Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange (KOFICE).
Is a residency program designed to promote the international exchange and collaborative creation among the dancers & choreographers from different cultural backgrounds. Dance Exchange 2019 is to acknowledge and recognize the importance of nurturing prospective artists within the context of promoting Korean performing arts to other Asian, African and Latin American art scene, as well as delivering the true aspect and originality of Asian, African and Latin American contemporary dance to the Korean audience
Residency within the Platonov Arts Festival/ The Russian Theatre Union Federation in (Volonezh, Russia) June 2017, with the generous support from the Vijana Vipaji Foundation (VVF) in Tanzania.
Dance Hustles Supported by: British Council/East Africa Arts | A dance exchange between Nantea Dance Company (Tanzania) and Autin Dance Theatre (UK) March-April 2017
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Project Women and Men BOX,chor. by: Gibney Dance Company (USA) and MuDa Africa (Tanzania) US State Department funded project in collaboration with NGO Engender Health (Iringa, Tanzania) December 2016
GoDown Art Centre, created and performed a Contemporary African dance performance 'Juzi Jana na Leo', chor. Samwel Japhet and Emanuel Elias as part of the Creative Economy Residency at the GoDown Art Centre May-July 2015 in Nairobi - Kenya.
January - April 2021, MuDa Africa Dance School in Tanzania, a 3 months intensive teachings and working with MuDa Africa Dance School's 2nd year students
September 2020: A masterclass, Discussion and Q&A with the Moravian College Dance Company and students from the Moravian College in Pennsylvania, USA.
July 2020: A dance workshops AFRO-FUSION WITHOUT CONFUSION as part of The WoodShed Dance Unrest & Survival Summer Intensive held online via Zoom organized by The WoodShed Online Dance Platform.
March 2020: A dance workshop on gender equality as part of the exchange project between FC St. Pauli 2. Frauen from Hamburg, Germany and Simba Queens of the Simba SC Tanzania from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. "Women Football in Tanzania and Germany" A achieve gender equality and self-determination for all women and girls.
February 2020: AFRO-FUSION WITHOUT CONFUSION Dance Workshop at the TanzTangente Dance Festival in Berlin, Germany.
October 2019: AFRO-FUSION WITHOUT CONFUSION as part of the AFRICAN CHOREOGRAPHERS DANCE WORKSHOP In Seoul, Korea organized by: Koulé Kan - 쿨레 칸 at Space Bon Courage.
Led a dance workshop at the Time 2 Dance Festival September 2017
Muda Africa dance school Conducted auditions for 50 dancers for the selection of a new class. January 2017.
2010 - present
Education, Trainings &
MuDa Africa Dance School | Diploma in Contemporary Dance & African Dances | 2013 - 2016
Makini Organization | Certificate in Traditional Dances & Theatre | 2009 - 2013
WORKSHOP CERTIFICATE in partipicated at the Meeting between the international dance schools Ecole Des Sables | Senegal & P.AR.T.S | Belgium, as part of the dance exchange between 10 African young choreographers and Masters students from P.A.R.T.S from January 6 to 7th, 2020 at the Ecole Des SAbles, Toubab Dialaw, Senegal.
Jalada Festival | Outriders: Africa Symposium: East Africa, a multi-disciplinary skills-share workshop organized by the Jalada Africa and Edinburgh International Book Festival and Supported by the British Council (Kenya & Scotland) and Creative Scotland November 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Certificate in teacher training workshop organized by the MuDa Africa Dance School and lead by Anne Akenes and Pia Holden from the Norwegian Panta Rei Dance Theatre April 2018 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
Choreographic Tools Training organized by the MuDa Africa Dance School/Time2Dance Festival and led by Wesley Ruzibiza Founder and Artistic director of the East Africa Nights Of Tolerance Festival in Rwanda February 2018 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
(Ecole Des Sables at the MARCH Dance Program of Germanie Acgony Teachnique, African contemporary and African Dances. in Senegal), July 2017
(Batalo East | Certificate in African Contemporary Dance | Kampala, Uganda)
GoDown Arts Centre | Certificate in Creative Economy | Nairobi, Kenya), May - July 2015
Haba Na Haba Dance Training| | Certificate in Contemporary Dance | Trained by Nora Chipaumire (Zimbambwe/USA, Robert Ngorama (Tanzania/Sweeden), Kefa Oiro (Nairobi, Kenya), | May- June 2014
Samwel Japhet has been supported and recieving support from the MuDa Africa Dance School, Vijana Vipaji Foundation, British Council - East Africa Arts, Goethe- Insititut, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg - Swiss Arts Council - Ant Mobility funding programme.