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Dr Sarahleigh Castelyn

Senior Lecturer

Centre for Performing Arts Development

Dr. Sarahleigh Castelyn is an educator, researcher, performer, and choreographer; a dance nerd.

    Dr Castelyn has both performed in and created performance works in the United Kingdom and South Africa, for instance the Jomba Contemporary Dance Festival. Her writings are published in a number of academic journals and dance magazines, such as Dance Theatre Journal, Animated, African Performance Review, South African Theatre Journal, and the South African Dance Journal. Key to her research is the integration of theory and practice. She serves on a number of editorial and organisation boards, for example, The African Theatre Association and South African Dance Journal.


    Currently working on a monograph titled Identity Politics in Contemporary Dance in South Africa: The Toyi-Toying Body and a book chapter about HIV/AIDS and contemporary dance in South Africa for an edited book collection on HIV/AIDS and Performance. Arrangements are also being made for a collaborative dance project with student dancers from the UK and students from a South African university.


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    Castelyn, S. (2013) ‘”Why I am not a fan of the Lion King”: Ethically-Informed Approaches  to the Teaching and Learning of South African Dance Forms in Higher Education in the United Kingdom’, South African Dance Journal, 2 (1), pp. 1 – 19. ISSN2223-8425.

    Castelyn, S. (2013) ‘“Home is where the heart is”: Black South African Identities and Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre’s Home’, African Performance Review, 5 (1), pp. 30 – 42. ISSN 1750-4848.

    Castelyn, S. (2012) ‘Flatfoot Dance Company’s training programme in South Africa’ in ANIMATED Winter 2012, pp. 32 - 35. ISSN/ISBN: 0969-7225

    Castelyn, S. (2010) ‘Mapping the Body’s Movement’, South African Theatre Journal, 24  (1), pp. 220 - 240. ISSN/ISBN: 1013-7548. DOI: 10.1080/10137548.2010.9687931.

    Castelyn, S. (2008) ‘’Mama Africa’, HIV/AIDS and National Identity in South Africa Choreography’, South African Theatre Journal, 22 (1), pp. 62 - 83. ISBN 1013-7548. DOI: 10.1080/10137548.2008.9687884. 

    Castelyn, S. (2006)'JOMBA! A Festival Diary', Dance Theatre Journal, 21 (3), pp. 40 - 44. ISSN 0264-9160

    2011 Invited to work with Flatfoot Dance Company’s training dancers on a choreographic project (Brenda and the BlueBottles) for the fringe night of Jomba Contemporary Dance Experience Festival 

    2006 Choreographer: Body Maps with Flatfoot Dancers: Jomba! Contemporary Dance Festival, Durban, South Africa

    2005 Choreographer: I’m Sorry I Never Meant to Hurt You with Flatfoot Student Dancers: Jomba! Contemporary Dance Festival, Durban, South Africa

    1999 Choreographer Brusie Dance Company: Damage: Dance Shongololo and Redeye: The Natal Playhouse and Durban Art Gallery, South Africa


    2016 UEL Undergraduate Research Intern Scheme

    2015 UEL Undergraduate Research Intern Scheme (First Prize for student’s work)

    2015 ADI UEL Conference Attendance 

    2014 UEL Undergraduate Research Intern Scheme (Third Prize for student’s work)

    2013 UEL Mini-Sabbatical Research Scheme

    2011 UEL Research Scheme

    2010 UEL Conference Attendance 

    2010 UEL Teaching Support Awards

    2009 UEL Conference Attendance

    2005 to 2008 AHRC PhD funding

    2005 to 2008 QM Student Conference Support

    2005 to 2008 AHRC Student Conference Support

    1998 to 2001 UKZN MA Funding

    1997 UKZN Honours Funding

    1994 to 1996 UKZN Undergraduate Funding


    Dance, Politics, Pedagogy, Africa, Gender, Race, Sexuality, Nation, and the relationship of practice and theory in dance studies research.



    Dr. Sarahleigh Castelyn teaches on undergraduate, postgraduate, and research programmes. She also supervises doctoral students.




    BA (Hons) Dance: Urban Practice
    African Theatre Association (Executive member)
    African Performance Review (Subscriptions editor)
    South African Dance Journal (Editorial Board)
    Society for Dance Research
    Society of Dance History Scholars
    Foundation for Community Dance
    Congress of Dance Research