ABOUT SUZIE MZURI
A teacher, musician, choreographer and performer
Suzie ‘Mzuri’ Watts
Suzanne ‘Mzuri’ Watts is a choreographer and founding director of performing arts company, Mzuri. Following extensive classical ballet ( RAD Elementary) and contemporary dance training at Rusden qualifying with Bachelor of Education in Dance & English, Suzanne’s international training has developed her work as a teacher, musician, choreographer and performer at festivals throughout the world including Tanzania, South Africa, France, Jamaica and Singapore.
B Ed Dance, English ESL, RAD Classical Ballet Elementary, Certificate IV Small Business Management
Suzanne Mzuri Watts is Director and founder of Mzuri Dance Network, an innovative company that encompasses a dance training studio, project performance development along with African music and dance for seasons and commissions.
She has developed her unique dance technique from 32 years of dance training and development. Her African dance training covers 17 years of international and national study including Brakka, Soukous (Congolese popular) ,Kwaito (South African Hip Hop), Gumboot & Kwella ( South African) Traditional Tanzanian, contemporary movement, which follows extensive classical training, character ballet and contemporary dance training.
Her initial training began with Kathleen Gorham – National Theatre, Martin Rubenstein, Laurel Martin OBE and Sue Hayes -Utassy memorial Ballet School before commencing her study at Rusden in Melbourne. Followed by attendance at the Bagamoyo College of Arts Tanzania and study of African dance in France, South Africa, London, Jamaica and contemporary & hip-hop dance in New York.
Suzanne studied the Brakka style of dance with So Kalmery, and contemporary African dance with George Momboye, Lolita & Irene Tassembado School of Dance in 92, 94 & 98 Paris. Suzanne has attended classes at The Alvin Ailey Dance School & Eric Hawkins Dance School New York 92, masterclasses with Vusa Dance Company and Grahamstown Festival performers, South Africa and Bangarra Dance Theatre, Victoria.
As well as dance training, Suzanne’s study has extended to music. In Tanzania in 1994 she studied the Ilimba (thumb piano) with the world renowned Dr Hukwe Zawose and traditional African drums at the Bagamoyo College of Arts. She also trained on the drums with Mr Thomas Khoza in South Africa and with leading dance companies in South Africa such as Vusa dance company and Gumboot dance training at the Grahamstown music festival. Her music skills see her play drum kit, guitar for songwriting, bass, Ilimba & belafon.
Suzanne has performed as a dancer, percussionist and vocalist at more than 500 Events & Festivals including WOMADelaide 2001 with Soukous Ba congo. She has toured internationally with French music award winner So Kalmery, and has played and worked with Musiki Manjaro, Sambole African Dance Company, Kotoko Ma with Kojo Owusu from African Royal Drummers, Matata Sound, Randy and the Jah Roots. Suzanne has performed with 2003 Australian Live Music Award winners King Bell & Soukous Ba Congo since 2000 worked sessionally with King Marong & Chris lesser and more recently as percussionist and backing vocalist for Ajak Kwai.
Suzanne has taught dance at the VCA Victorian College of Arts Drama School, Melbourne University, the CAE, GPAC Geelong Performing Arts Centre, Collingwood Education Centre, Utassy Memorial Ballet School; Tintern Girls Grammar, Camberwell Boys Grammar, Canterbury Girls Secondary College, Wesley, King David, GATEWays and was the Bendigo Dance Director for the Department of Education and Training’s Joining The Chorus State dancers.
Suzanne has choreographed works commissioned by Premier and Cabinet for International Womens Day at Federation Square, Summer Fun in the City Queensbridge Square, Opening Ceremony Commonwealth Games City of Whitehorse, South African musician Jo Malatji at the MCG and Hamer Hall, the VCA Drama School for the production The Rover, Joining the Chorus at Rod Laver Arena, the Arts Centre Education Porgrams at Hamer Hall, Australian Day at Fed Square, Arts Centre Beach stage C/W Games Arts Festival, and directed 15 school musical productions staged at Karralika Theatre, National Theatre, etc.
Mzuri allows old and new arts from Africa and the West to develop fresh ideas and meaning that are inspirational to audiences and patrons.
Director of Taios Productions, Mpaphi Nfandizo from Botswana who plays Ikalanga folklore from the Afri’can’a 4 string guitar made out of an oil can and newly devised songs drawing from the Kalahari desert.
Afrovival and the Oil Can Project creates melodic rhythms with an illustrious collection of well loved African instruments representing five countries of Africa.
Suzanne ‘Mzuri’ Watts is a choreographer and founding director of performing arts company, Mzuri.
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