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Dancing with the Stars

Glamourous Extravaganza to hit Channel 101. 

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Early in 2018, M-Net 101 will be adding yet another spectacular show to its sizzling Sunday night line-up. Late in 2017, the channel confirmed that, with the help of highly skilled professional Latin and Ballroom dancers, 12 untrained local celebrities will be putting their best foot forward to compete in a proudly South African version of the BBC Worldwide format Dancing With The Stars.  Sunday, 4 February 2018, will see the inaugural episode taking to the satellites.

The South African version of the hit series, which has been licensed to over 50 countries around the world, will be co-hosted by bubbly radio and television presenter Tracey Lange and suave musical theatre actor and six-pack model, Chris Jaftha.

Internationally acclaimed choreographer and creative director Jason Gilkison will bring his expertise to the Dancing With The Stars SA Season 1 judging panel. Apart from sharing his opinion about the competing couples’ interpretation of different dancing styles, he will also function as creative director, overseeing the couples and group choreography and the creative execution thereof.

Jason will be joined by legends of the local dance fraternity and the two divas of the dance floor, ‘SA’s Queen of Dance’, Tebogo Kgobokoe and teacher extraordinaire Debbie Turner, who will bring their years of experience, unique style and sharp comments to the show.

And the contestants are…

Frank OppermanFrank Opperman:

In Frank’s signature, witty style, he said of joining this star-studded show: “Some people climb Everest for fun. Some walk to the South Pole for kicks, some people swim the seven oceans for pleasure and some people dance with the stars because they have gone insane! In my case, it feels like all of the above in one go,” he nervously admitted.

Thembisa Mdoda

“I have always wanted to be part of Dancing With The Stars,” an excited Thembisa – who clinched the coveted title of Best TV Presenter at the 2017 DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards – gushed when she heard the news.

Juanita de Villiers VeltsJuanita de Villiers

Juanita is well known for her theatre work and acting roles in movies such as KnysnaSomer SonDie Pro, Willie Esterhuizen’s Droomdagand Gys De Villers’, Die Ontwaking. Most recently, she played a nurse in kykNET’s new movie, Hartsorg.

Liesl Laurie

After growing up in Eldorado Park and completing a B.Com degree at the University of Johannesburg, Liesl won the Miss South Africa pageant in 2015. During her reign she stole the hearts of South Africans from all walks of life as she impressed everyone with her humility, boundless energy and striking sense of style. These days, she is also a presenter on popular independent radio station Jacaranda FM, and is the international brand ambassador of L’Oreal – Vichy Laboratoires in SA, USA and Brazil.

Odessa Swarts

Odessa, who originally hails from Cape Town, is best known because of her track star son Wayde van Niekerk’s fame as a World Record holding – and breaking – athlete. However, long before Wayde was on the scene, Odessa was also lauded for lighting up the South African athletics world, having competed provincially as a track-and-field athlete in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She too broke a number of sporting records, and will no doubt be determined to light up the gleaming dance floor in 2018.

Zola Nombona

Zola, who won the 2016 Golden Horn Award for best lead actress for her work in the movie Ingoma, says that she’s thrilled to be a part of Dancing With The Stars SA. “I’m excited to push myself and see how I can morph into a dancer. It is my first time ever taking part in a competition like this, and to be a part of one of this magnitude, feels amazing. It’s totally out of my comfort zone and I’m ready for the challenge!”

Connel CruiseConnel Cruise

Connell made headline news when he clinched a significant record deal from New York City’s Island records after being spotted by L.A Reid, the music industry titan who played a massive role in catapulting the likes of Kanye West, Rihanna, Bon Jovi and Justin Bieber to superstardom.

Delron Buckley

At the young age of 20, Delron Buckley was signed to Bafana Bafana, playing in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups as well as representing SA in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. He successfully pursued his dream of playing football overseas, having earned a professional contract in the premier German Bundesliga with VFL Bochum, and resided in Germany for many years.

Thando Manana

Thando Manana is best known for being the third black South African player to don a Springbok jersey. Having only started playing at age sixteen, Thando’s rise through the rugby ranks was astoundingly fast. Within two years of playing rugby, Manana represented Eastern Province at Craven Week, and by 2000 he was a Springbok.

Jason GilkisonEden Classens

Eden, a model and popular actor, plays the role of Justin in the hit Afrikaans soap Suidooster on kykNET. Born and bred in Johannesburg, Eden moved to New York City to study Musical Theatre and Acting at the prestigious New York Film Academy where he trained under acclaimed Broadway Casting Director VP Boyle, before returning to local shores.

Ebenhaezer Dibakwane

Ebenhaezer is best known for lighting up the local comedy scene, with his highlights being opening for Dillan Oliphant, being part of the Stand Up 4 Comedy ensemble alongside Mo Mathebe and Virgil Prins and being billed on the line up for Blacks Only and the Comedy Central International Comedy Festival alongside Trevor Noah and other South African household names.

Vanes-Mari du Toit

Vanes-Mari is a player on the South African National Netball team and has an impressive 38 caps for South Africa under her belt, playing in positions such as Goal Shooter, Goal Keeper and Goal Attack. In October 2012, she travelled with the Proteas to Australia & New Zealand to participate in the Quad Series tournament, where she became a household name with an impressive performance against the Silver Ferns.


Dancing With The Stars SA is produced for M-Net by the multi-award winning Rapid Blue and will be broadcast live on M-Net channel 101 from 4 February 2018. The series is produced by multi-award winning Rapid Blue and sponsored by Lottostar.


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