Growing up in Soweto, South Africa, Vincent Mantsoe learned to dance through youth clubs, street dancing and music videos. He also participated in the traditional rituals involving song and dance that were practiced by the women in his family, who were traditional healers.
In 1990, Mantsoe won a scholarship to Sylvia Glasser’s Moving Into Dance Company (MID) in Johannesburg. There, he began to explore the possibility of merging street dance with traditional dance. From 1997 until 2001, Mantsoe was associate artistic director of MID. Primarily a solo performer, he has also created work for ensembles including Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City and COBA (Collective of Black Artists) in Toronto, Canada. In 2005, he founded in France the Noa Compagnie Vincent Matsoe Association.
Mantsoe’s choreography combines traditional African dance with contemporary, aboriginal, Asian and ballet influences in a cross-cultural Afro-fusion style. He acknowledges the influence of spirituality in his creative work. Describing a process of “borrowing” from the “ancestors”, he notes the importance of understanding and appreciating the sources of his traditional movements.
Mantsoe has toured internationally, performing at venues including The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Dance Umbrella in London, England, and Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa. He has also won many awards, including top prize at the Vth and VIth Rencontres chorégraphique de Bagnolet (officially the Rencontres chorégraphique internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis) in 1996 and 1998. In 1999, he received the Prix du Peuple at the Festival international de nouvelle danse in Montréal, Canada and the Dora Award in 2015.