Bawren Tavaziva’s unique style is
a choreographic synthesis of ballet, contemporary and African dance.
Tavaziva was established in 2004 and is led by Zimbabwean-born Bawren Tavaziva. His unique style is a choreographic synthesis of ballet, contemporary and African dance.
Our highly trained dancers articulate Bawren’s unique movement language with athletic physicality, grace and technical precision.
Tavaziva tour a production each year to venues throughout the UK, run a post-graduate dance apprenticeship programme, deliver a range of education and training programmes for young men and schools, and is regularly commissioned to make work for organisations such as CAT (Centre for Advanced Training), Association of the African Diaspora, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Southbank Centre.
Tavaziva is funded by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation and is also supported by John Lyon’s Charity, Garfield Weston and Sainsbury’s Monument Trust.
is to make original contemporary African choreography that excites, transforms
and enriches people’s experience of dance.
Through performances, training, learning and participation, we aim
to share a culture of creative exchange, opportunity, excellence and innovation.
Bawren Tavaziva was born in a rural village near Masvingo in Zimbabwe. Football, Michael Jackson, New Edition and Kung Fu movies viewed at the local community hall provided inspiration to Bawren and his friends. Bawren’s musical talents also developed at this time on a guitar made by his brother from a 5 litre tin can and fishing wire.
At the age of 12 Bawren Tavaziva attended an outreach ballet project with the National Ballet of Zimbabwe at his local community centre. From day one, his determination and talent led him to a life-long passion for dance. He danced with Tumbuka for five years and toured Africa. He came to England to join Phoenix and Union dance and in 2004 he presented his own choreography and music as a finalist at The Place Prize with a deeply moving quintet entitled Umdhlalo Kasisi, in memory of his sister who sadly died of HIV.
After this, Bawren formed his own company and became Artistic Director of Tavaziva Dance and in the same year won a fellowship with Dance of the African Diaspora’s Trailblazer programme.
His work can be controversial, aiming to provoke and change audience’s perceptions as he challenges conventions and highlights important issues that are unspoken especially in Zimbabwe.
Inspired by his own experience growing up in Zimbabwe, Bawren takes pride in providing opportunities for new dancers and young people. In 2012 he set up Tavaziva Male, a project that trains young men. He is particularly focused on supporting graduate apprenticeship dancers to becoming first-class professionals.
Bawren’s distinctive African style is highly original, inventive and contemporary. Recent choreographic commissions include making work for: CAT (Centre for Advanced Training), ADAD (Association of the African Diaspora), Transitions, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Horniman Museum and Southbank Centre.
Bawren Tavaziva’s impressive body of work includes: Umdlalo Kasisi 2004, Soul Inspired 2005, Bophelo 2006, Chatsva 2007, Heart of Darkness 2009, Wild Dog 2010, Double Take 2011, Sensual Africa 2012, Greed 2013, Tavaziva Ten 2014, Africarmen 2015, Izindava 2017.
Bawren has embarked on various research trips to Africa, most recently visiting Ethiopia in 2016 to explore the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Rastafari movement. In 2016 Artistic Director of Rambert Mark Baldwin OBE invited Bawren to work with Polka Theatre’s Artistic Director Pete Glanville to create Mud Boy, a new work for children and family audiences. In 2018 Bawren will choreograph for Euton Daley MBE’s Ending the Silence, a trilogy of work fusing dance, theatre and performance poetry.
Bawren’s latest work BOYS KHAYA is currently in R&D, working with digital partners Green Hippo, Noitom and Notch to explore Motion Capture technology.
Tavaziva has produced a Black Dance Archives Learning Resource that documents Bawren Tavaziva’s dance career and includes interviews with Bawren and workshop examples— Learning Resource available here
Bawren, aged 4, with his mother
Bawren performing with Tumbuka Dance Company, Zimbabwe
Tavaziva dancers perform in our national tours, at special
events and festivals, assist Bawren Tavaziva with auditions
and choreographic projects and as highly skilled workshop
leaders, deliver workshops across our extensive Learning
and Participation programme.
‘Every dancer is magnificent— every single one. It is a contemporary African masterpiece.’ *****
Afridiziak Theatre News
‘The most defining feature of his movement is the attack of the dancers, the strength of their technique and their joy in dancing.’
Asmara Cammock (Apprentice)
Nicole Victor (Apprentice)
Diwele Molale Lubi,
Carmine De Amicis
Heart of Darkness
Diwele Molale Lubi
Bafana Solomon Matea
Carmine De Amicis
Yamuna Devi Chaudhari
Executive Director & Creative Producer
Emily Winfield and Chloe Seddon (job share)
Learning & Participation Manager
Surrey University Administrative Placement
Board of Directors
Marie McCluskey MBE (Chair), Colin Bourne Collins, Tina Mermiri, Mercy Nabirye, Mykaell Riley, Amanda Saunders, Lydia Scott
Fundraising Consultant (Freelance)
Peter Kyle OBE
Alfred Bailey (Dillonrose.com)
Writer and Dramaturge
Ben Voorharr & Sabrina Zyla (Karisma Costumes)