Born and raised in Qumbu at the Eastern Cape, this 44 year old performer was born a hearing person, at the age of 5 he suffered from a disease called mumps that took his hearing. Vellem began dancing at an early age inspired by his parents who were ballroom dancers, he started watching and coping Michael Jackson’s movements and entertained people in the community, Schools and even at Churches.
Vellem’s professional development began in 1999/2000 at the Open Air School Hall in Durban; he later joined Tshwaragano – In-Touch Integrated Dance Project in 200/2001. His training includes Acting, Contemporary dance, Contact Improvisation, Improvisation. In the year 2000, he was introduced to Adam Benjamin, who was an artistic director of a well-known integrated dance company in UK at that time. Adam choreographed “Querist’s Quire”, a production that involved performers on a wheelchair which was performed at The Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg, Artscape in Cape Town and The Royal Festival Hall in London UK. It is during this process where he developed more understanding, knowledge and passion for integrated works.
In 2005 he worked as a full time performer at Remix Dance Company, here he got a platform to learn, work and collaborate in various production that toured nationally and internationally by different Choreographers/Directors; this includes works by Hellen Kaz (USA), Ina Mogane, Adam Benjamin, Mpho Mselela, Jay Pather , Jacqueline Dommisse and Tossie Van Tonder, Jaco Bouwer, Gerda Konig (Germany), Malcolm Black, Neo Moyanga and Ina Mogane, David Toole and Lucy Hinds (UK), Faniswa Yisa, Sharon M Watson and Mark Store (UK). Vellem has taught and lead workshops in different schools and colleges in the Western Cape and KZN, collaborated main stream schools and schools with special needs. He also collaborated with different artists, leading workshops at different schools and universities in America. He is one of the founder members of Mixibility Network of all the integrated dance companies.
Vellem is currently an outreach coordinator, Resident Choreographer and Dance Teacher for an Integrated Dance Company that he co-founded in 2013 (Unmute Dance Company); and Artistic Coordinators for Unmute ArtsAbility Festival. His resent Choreography “Unmute” has won him a Standard Bank Ovation ward 2015 at the National Arts Festival. As a performer who is deaf, he also acts as an activists for people with disability within the arts industry and he continues to reach the community by teaching Sign Language and Sign Dance Technique (Dance Technique that he created) in Schools. Vellem also performed Ashed and Trapped choreographed by Themba Mbuli, Ufundo choreographed by Mziyanda and Andile Vellem.
Vellem was invited to perform in collaboration with live music practitioners from the UK, this work was serve to see how Vellem communicates and how he hears or feels the music , this work called Cape Sounds was showcased in Berlin. The work Directed by Dom Lawton and choreographed by Mpotseng Shuping assisted
He performed Firedbird directed by Janni Younge and choreographed by Jay Pather, Firebird was performed at Artscape, NAF (National Arts Festival) and toured in USA.
He also choreographed and performed Longitude of Silent, with Liane for the Jomba Festival which was in Durban September 2018.