danZ! is a South African contemporary youth drama television series that centres around a dance school which becomes the anchor and safe haven for various characters within a community, each lost and battling for a sense of connection.
Ashwin (Dillon Windvogel), a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, struggles to believe that anyone will ever truly love him and be there for him while Zain (Ruben Engel), the founder of a community dance school and father figure to many, struggles to keep the doors of his school open and be a decent father to his estranged daughter.
In an attempt to try and escape his abusive, drug-dealing uncle Tommy (Sherman Pharo), Ashwin steals a package of drugs from Mamba (David Manuel), a thug who works for his Uncle, in order to sell them and make his own way in life.
But, while escaping the clutches of Mamba and Tommy, who are hellbent on finding him (and more importantly the missing package), Ashwin stumbles upon Zain's dance school, where Zain offers him protection and a chance at building a new life.
There, Ashwin meets and befriends Wafiq (Austin Rose), the kind boy with a physical disability whose mother, Sharifa (Euodia Samson), offers Ashwin a home; along with the girl Wafiq has long been crushing on: Christa, an exceptionally trained ballerina who feels emotionally disconnected from her family and is quietly suffering from an eating disorder.
However, the shadow of Ashwin's past continues to haunt him. Angel, an impoverished young girl, desperate to be a star; and her dance partner / boyfriend, Titus, an arrogant, entitled heir to his father's empire, feel threatened by Ashwin's arrival, and soon an intense rivalry begins.
While Angel seeks to hide her meager circumstances, Titus struggles between his passion for dance and his corrupt and often callous father's expectations of him. Coupled with the arrival of a mysterious new dance teacher, Marlé, who harbors an explosive secret, and things are about to get messy...
Set in Cape Town's hotpot community of Salt River and Woodstock, danZ! encompasses a world where people from different backgrounds and economic statutes come together to form one community where the arts are a celebrated.
But even the community is undergoing dramatic changes with gentrification looming - threatening the very livelihoods and establishments that have been around for decades.
Though conflicts arise and trouble is always brewing for Ashwin, what he must ultimately learn, is that the essence of family and true friendship is born out of trust; and through dance, we can not only find community but purpose.
The question is, will the school stand by Ashwin, and will Ashwin choose to stand alone or stay and help save the community he has become a part of? Or is the past something, we can never truly escape...
danZ! is based on an original idea by Kobus Geldenhuys and Amor Tredoux and is produced by Gambit Films with executive producer Bradley Joshua and producer Benjamin Overmeyer. The supervising producer for kykNET is Marguerite Albrecht.
The head writer is Travis Taute with a writing team that includes Henry Cloete, Desiré Gardner, Tristram Atkins and Marvin-Lee Beukes. Directors include Taute, Jan Engelen and Nosipho Dumisa. The music is by Katalis Productions and Lindley Heynes.
Season 1 Cast
(scroll to bottom for available actor bios)
Ruben Engel ... Zain Hendricks (as Reuben Engel)
Euodia Samson ... Sharifa Cassim
Dillon Windvogel ... Ashwin Bruinders
Austin Rose ... Wafiq Cassim
Charlene Wolmarans ... Marlé Strauss
Kayla Van Tonder ... Christa du Toit
Kertrice Maitisa ... Zoliswa 'Zoli' Ntini
Mekaila Mathys ... Angel Abrahams
Julian Hurley ... Titus Jr. Tesselaar
Conway October ... B-Boy Ace
Andre Lombard ... Adriaan du Toit
Hanlé Barnard ... Anneke du Toit
and Mortimer Williams ... Suleiman 'Solly' Omar
Recurring / Guests
Hannes van Wyk ... Titus Sr. Tesselaar
David Manuel ... Mamba
Layla Hendricks ... Dancer
Bjorn Cupido ... Dancer
Donlynn Fischer ... Dancer
Justin De Nobrega ... Dancer
Mu-Azzam Williams ... Dancer
Luke De Kock ... Dancer
Amy-Monique Cloete ... Dancer
Stephanie Adams ... Dancer
Tracey September ... Dancer
Shane Rudolph ... Dancer
Brandon Peterson ... Gavin
Sherman Pharo ... Tommy Hendricks
Ciara Ongansie ... Jessie Hendricks
Tarryn Lamb ... Sylvia Leriche
Jandre le Roux ... Gunter Schmidt
Portia Joel ... Mrs. Abrahams