Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses.

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

Filtering by Tag: Hartford Zulu Dancers

HARTFORD ZULU DANCERS ENTER SA'S GOT TALENT

Hartford Zulu Dance Team in action
(Photos : Hartford House)

"Hartford Zulu Dance Team"

It's with great hustle and bustle that the Award winning Zulu Dancers from Hartford eagerly enter their details for the up coming season of SA's Got Talent. With Auditions for the first round taking place on the 23rd June at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban, they'll be competing against various acts from musicians to magicians as well as acrobats and smooth groovers.

The Zulu Dancers have been performing at Hartford House for the last ten years and comprise young zulus from Bruntville, a community just outside Mooi River. They take great pride in showcasing their Zulu Heritage and we love watching them perform with such vigour and enthusiasm. We are very excited that news of their amazing talent has travelled and that they have been invited to attend "SA's Got Talent".

From all the staff at Hartford and Summerhill we wish our team of dancers all the best, and we cannot wait to see them on etv in September 2012.

hartford house logo

For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za

BLISSFUL MEMORIES ON THE MIDLANDS MEANDER

Hartford Restaurant KZN Midlands

Hartford House Restaurant

THE MEMORIES WILL LAST A LIFETIME

It’s always gratifying to receive feedback from guests who stay at Hartford House, as an enormous amount of effort goes into making every guest’s stay a memorable one. It was therefore with deep appreciation that we received these reviews via the Tripadvisor.com website.

We spent only 24 hours at Hartford House, but the memories will last a lifetime. From the moment we arrived and were offered a complimentary cocktail, we knew we had arrived somewhere special. The location was beautiful, tranquil and instantly relaxing.

We stayed in the Inkanyezi suite, which was a very impressive rondavel, built by locals, which was situated overlooking the fishing dam, with our own private plunge pool.

The accommodation was very special, from the 8 foot circular bed, to the bath for two (in which we drank champagne from the mini bar!) and the views and the sunloungers, all of which made us feel very special! We also had treatments at the wellness centre which contributed to our overall feeling of well being.

The food was out of this world, with the five course dinner a highlight. The restaurant was voted best Restaurant in South Africa in 2009 and this honour is well deserved. It was without doubt the best meal we have ever eaten. Save room for breakfast though, as this is equally impressive!

As you probably realise, we were impressed with this place, but quite apart from the quality of the accommodation and food, what impressed us most was the courage and determination of the owners and their Zulu staff to make a success of Hartford House and in an area of enormous unemployment and poverty, they are creating an amazing success story. Go there, support their efforts and have an experience you won't forget.

 

 ABSOLUTE BLISS

hartford house siyabonga suite lounge

Siyabonga Suite Lounge

We spent one night at Hartford House in the Siyabonga suite for a special celebration, our stay was absolute bliss, from our drive to the hotel passing beautiful green scenery to our departure after breakfast on Sunday morning. From the minute you enter the gates absolute silence and beauty greet you, everywhere you look you see evidence to detail, the grounds are in pristine condition, the gardens a gorgeous riot of colour. The main house is well maintained and has beautiful furniture and exquisite mouldings and even stained glass on the ceilings. Check in was smooth, we were given a refreshing drink, while a few details were filled in.

The Siyabonga suite is one of the stand alone cottages at the dam edge, it has its own little splash pool with a water feature and an outdoor area, including 2 hammocks, overlooking the dam. The suite itself is big with a separate lounge area, lovely bedroom and dressing area, the bathroom has 2 stand alone baths as well as a separate wet room with a rain shower. The suite was clean and well maintained. The walks through the property were amazing, being able to get so close to the horses was very special.

Saturday dinner is an event at Hartford, with live entertainment by Zulu dancers, however unfortunately for us there was a problem and the dancers could not turn up, but Mick’s beautiful story telling made us proud to be South African and we learned more about our country’s as well as Hartford’s rich history. The food was sublime, Jackie is truly a star, she accommodated us with our dietry requirements, so we were able to enjoy a gastronomic feast. The staff were friendly and attentive.

When we got back to our room, the staff had been to turn down the bed, the chocolates were delicious and the rose petals on the bed and in the bath made us feel very special.

Sunday breakfast was not the usual buffet but another gastronomic feast.

Sadly we had to leave, but the peace and tranquillity of the place refreshed our souls.

AT LAST, THE WORLD IS SITTING UP

hartford zulu dancers

Hartford Zulu Dancers
(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

AMASNAMUVA

For the last thirteen years, Hartford has championed the cause of Amasnamuva (performers), our Zulu traditional dance troupe, who begged the boss for an audition shortly after the opening of Hartford House as a boutique hotel. Having grown up in Pondoland, he’d seen more traditional dancers than most, and thinking that this might be more of the same, Mick Goss turned up for the audition on a Sunday morning with rather long teeth. Several of the troupe were tender young seedlings of eight and nine years of age, but turn up they did, beautifully regaled (at their own expense) in what it takes to perform this ancient art. They deposited their drums, girded with animal hides, on the flat turf in front of the hotel gazebo, and they beat them with garden hoses in a fashion he’d never encountered before. The remainder of these kids danced their socks off, and they were so good, Mick told them that henceforth, they’d be a permanent fixture for the pleasure of our guests every Saturday evening, weather permitting.

Until three years ago, they’d never ventured much further than Mooi River, but at the first opportunity, won the KZN Provincial Championships and the right to attend the National Championships, which they proceeded to win as well. Miraculously, this earned them a place at the World Traditional Dance Championships in Tokyo where, of 46 contesting nations, they finished third in the whole dam world!. A year later, they were in Hong Kong, and in their second place, they earned the title of Best Dance Troupe on the African continent. We fully expected them to take the World Championship in the United States this year, but sadly that contest was postponed because of that country’s financial plight.

It seems though, the word is out. Writing in “The Mercury” on Monday, Latoya Newman writes :

What was once a form of cultural dance used by a people to celebrate weddings, the inauguration of a King, winning a war, the birth of a child and more, is fast becoming an artistic dance expression that has crowds mesmirised the world over.

Over the years, Zulu dancing has evolved into a stage phenomenon which many dance schools and professionals have not only embraced on its own, but have merged with other dance forms of dance to create the ever popular "fusion".

Its popularity became more obvious on SA's Got Talent.

Kee-Leen Irvine, executive producer for Rapid Blue who produced the show said it saw about 100 cultural dance groups, many of then Zulu cultural items.

"The response from the audience, across cultures, to these items was phenomenal."

Beside the increasing interest in these forms of dance, what is also apparent is that over the years more and more people from other cultural backgrounds are embracing Zulu dance forms.

Xolani Majozi, theatre producer and compiler at K-Cap, an arts development company based in KwaMashu, said his group - which has toured the country and the world - is always well received.

"Whenever we do a theatre or musical production we make sure it is traditional, because of its appeal to the audience, especially international audiences. When you go overseas and you say you are doing a South African production, they expect to see Zulu dance.

"Umoja and IpiNtombi, for example, have toured in different countries and Zulu dancing has made those groups famous. Zulu dancing is being embraced across cultures.

Even if you look back at groups like Johnny Clegg and Juluka and Savuka, what made them popular was the Zulu element," said Majozi.

Professor Musa Xulu, a Durban-based ethno-musicologist and heritage consultant, said every society had some form of dance that became "folk" dance.

"From time to time people use these dance forms for commercial reasons and Zulu dance is no different," he said.

Xulu said Zulu dance was "perfected" in the hostels and mines with competitions that took place on weekends, especially in Durban.

"But at that time people danced for social reasons, like for courtship and so on. Over the past 15 years or so, a commercial element has started creeping in. Among other things, the "brand" Zulu has become a recognised brand across the world because of history," he said.

Xulu said today most dancers came from township areas because young people there have recognised "the gap in the market" and that if you had a Zulu dance product and added modern elements to it, you had popular dance. "It is a way to make a living, so it is commercialised."

Xulu said it was good that other people from different cultures were participating.

"Any art form grows a lot when people from diverse backgrounds enter it. If you look at pennywhistle music, for example, once Mango Groove embraced it, it became a world phenomenon. People from diverse backgrounds will come with different ideas," he said.

As is the case with the Surialanga Dance Company. Artistic Director Suria Govender said they embraced a fusion of cultures in their performances, which had travelled abroad.

She believes that not only will Zulu dance continue to grow in the arts, but that fusion (a mix of Zulu, Indian and other cultural dances) will also become trendier.

"It is an expression of our identity as South Africans. We are a melting pot of cultures and the arts is one way for us to see how we understand where we are at," she said.