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Kiwi is Finalist for Ohad Naharin Mentorship
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By Dance Informa
19 February 2016

Following a worldwide search for the most outstanding young talents in dance, Rolex has announced that a 22-year-old New Zealander, Christopher Ofanoa, has been named as a top dance finalist for the 2016–17 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. If chosen, he’ll have the opportunity to be mentored by master choreographer Ohad Naharin. Their year of creative exchange and collaboration would begin in June.

The other finalists for the dance program are: Londiwe Khoza, 22, of South Africa; Peter Lenso, 24, of Zimbabwe; and Xanthe van Opstal, 23, of the Netherlands.

“The chance to benefit from the experience of one of the world’s greatest exponents in their discipline is an unparalleled opportunity for these young artists,” said Rolex’s Head of Philanthropy Rebecca Irvin on the Initiative, which also supports mentorships in literature, theatre, visual arts, architecture, film and music. “As in past cycles, mentors will find selecting a protégé challenging due to the calibre of the outstanding talents provided by the selection process.”

The finalists are selected by independent, anonymous nominating panels of influential artists and arts professionals who, after a rigorous global search, tap into their network of contacts and propose potential protégés who could benefit most from the programme. Application is by invitation only.

Each protégé will receive 25,000 Swiss francs to support his or her participation in the programme, with a further 25,000 Swiss francs available to create a new work at the conclusion of the mentoring year. Mentors are asked to spend up to six weeks with their protégés over the 12 months, but the pairs are free to interact in whichever way suits them best. Rolex organizes all aspects of the programme from its Geneva headquarters.

Since its launch in 2002, the Rolex Arts Initiative has built a remarkable artistic community that connects artists around the globe. Some of the world’s most distinguished artists have served as mentors. They include choreographers Trisha Brown, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, William Forsythe, Jiří Kylián, Lin Hwai-min, Alexei Ratmansky and Saburo Teshigawara.