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Prof Juanita Praeg

Juanita 2 2015

Associate Professor Juanita Finestone-Praeg


Juanita is an Associate Professor in Performance Studies and Choreography at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. She has extensive experience as a performer, choreographer, educator and researcher, having worked in the academy and the performing arts profession for over 30 years. Her interest in teaching is to engage critically and creatively with performance studies as a vital discourse and practice within the South African context. She has accumulated her teaching experience within selected tertiary educational structures as well as working within project-based professional theatre and community contexts. Juanita holds a Masters Degree (Cum Laude) in  Choreography and Theatre Studies and is currently working towards her PhD.  Ms Praeg, the longest standing member of the First Physical Theatre Company, has contributed to the company’s vision and been actively involved in all its research, educational, community, performance and choreographic programmes over the past twenty three years. She has been Artistic Director for the company 2010 - 2015 and has an active practice-as-research profile.  In 2011, she was recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award at Rhodes University and in August 2011 performed a public lecture which spoke to her teaching pedagogy and professional experience of the performing arts in the context of development challenges.

She was appointed Head of the Drama Department at Rhodes University until 2013 - 2015. 


1996                Masters Degree in Dance and Theater Studies (cum laude); Rhodes University


1989                Honours Degree in Drama and Dance (cum laude); Rhodes University


1986                B.A. Rhodes University: Major subjects : English, Industrial Sociology and Drama (cum laude).

Employment History:

2002- 2015: Lecturer, Rhodes University Drama Department

1994 – 2015: Freelance performer and choreographer with First Physical Theatre Company

1996 – 2001: Part-time Lecturer at the Rhodes University Drama department

1990-1993: Lecturer in the Drama Department at University of Stellenbosch

Professional Achievements:

  • Appointed: Head Of Drama:  2013 - 2015
  • Member of Selection panel for Ovation Awards at the National Arts Festival 2013 and 2014
  • Artistic Director: First Physical: 2010 – 2015
  • Award: Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Teachers Award: 2011
  • Women’s Arts Festival in Durban commission recognised with an FNB Vita Nomination for Most Outstanding Female Dancer: 1999
  • Rhodes University Woman of the Year: 2007 for outstanding achievement in the Performing Arts

 Creative work:

Evidence of a substantial BODY of work: both as an academic (research outputs include both theoretical peer reviewed articles and Practice-as-Research outcomes ) and the body of work produced over 30 years as a professional performer and professional choreographer. 

Juanita’s professional performance profile extends from the late 1980’s. Most of her performance work has been with First Physical Theatre Company and corresponds with the Festivals and tours cited under the company’s extraordinary repertory of original choreographies (over 200 works).

Research Activity:

Juanita has accumulated a diverse research profile with writing experience ranging from academic papers to writing outcomes for tertiary education and FET syllabi (SGB executive committee member) and performance and choreography studies courses. Her choreographic work 16 kinds of emptiness was accepted for the Practice-as-Research National Initiative and received exceptional peer review. She is currently working toward her PhD on choreographic trends within South Africa.  Selected research outputs include:

1995 - Interview : Anja Huisman and Juanita Finestone   Talk to Reza de Wet; in South African Theatre Journal, 9/1 May 1995.

1996 - Body Intervention : A Perspective on South African Theatre.  Paper in proceedings of “South African Theatre As/And Intervention” conference held in London, 30 August 1996.

1997 - The Muse and the Archaeologist: Re-visiting the Creative Sites of The Unspeakable Story: a paper presented at BASA Workshop on Artistic Collaboration. Also published by First Physical Theatre Company in their educational CD rom (2001).

1999 - Contemporary Theatre Review: an international journal. Special issue : Women, Politics and Performance in South African Theatre Today, Goodman, L. (ed): Harwood: Academic Publishers. Article entitled: Unwilling Champion: An Interview with Reza de Wet (Huisman and Finestone)

2000 - CD Rom: Physical Intelligence!: Research officer and writer

2001 - Physical Imaginings: the translation of memory in the danceplays   of First Physical , a paper presented at theinternational  Confluences III Conference held at theUniversity of Cape Town. Academic Paper

2002 -  Memory In Translation, a paper presented at the Shuttle Dance History Research Skills Development Project (a Danish-South African exchange) and published in Footsteps Across the Landscape of Dance in South Africa

2006 - Dramatic Learning Spaces Conference: Reflective (a)musings on 16 kinds of emptiness: Reframing research for practice.

2006 - Paper published in the accredited South African Theatre Journal:   Reflective (a)musings on 16 kinds of emptiness: Reframing research for practice. Volume 21

2010 - Two papers published in accredited journal: South African Theatre Journal: Volume 24: 2010: (i) p16 – 29: Intimate revolts – some approaches to pedagogy and performer training in Physical Theatre: In Conversation with First Physical Theatre Company’s Artistic Director: Gary Gordon and (ii) p259 – 279: Body Of Questions: Book of Changes: Event-texts from the Butoh work amanogawa .

2011 - Keynote address at the Confluences Conference in July 2011. Title: Difference Is Revolting.

2011 - Public lecture at Rhodes University as recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Award for Teaching: Body of Questions:  Towards a Democratised Performance.

Telephone (direct) : +27 6038969

email | j.praeg at ru.ac.za

for more information on Juanita visit our drama reviews

‌Updated 28-02-18 SM

Last Modified: Wed, 28 Feb 2018 14:43:54 SAST