Dance in Durban set to dazzle

2010-08-28 00:00

CUTTING-EDGE dance works from South Africa, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Reunion Island are set to dazzle visitors to this year’s JOMBA! international contemporary dance festival in Durban.

Among the many companies headed to the city for the 12-day event, hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, is Johannesburg’s Moving Into Dance Mophatong. The company will be performing Sylvia Glasser’s award-winning Threads, a work created in collaboration with poet, Lebo Mashile.

The performance of this fusion of dance and spoken word is doubly special for Mashile, who is pregnant with her first child and will be six months pregnant during the performance. “The cast and I are looking forward to performing this piece with a highly pregnant star,” she says. “But the idea of motherhood is actually very consistent with the piece thematically, so I am very excited at the thought of it. We are also reworking my costume to make it even more lavish, and truly to celebrate the female form as it gets ready to give life.”

Mashile’s career is currently soaring. On the international front, she scored a coup with the translation of her anthology, In A Rhythm of Ribbon, into German. The work has since reached number four on Germany’s Best Books list, widely regarded as the most important reference point for newly translated works in that territory. She has also released audio versions of both her anthologies — In A Ribbon Of Rhythm and Flying Above the Sky — which are available for purchase from www.lebomashile.com

Also from Gauteng is choreographer Sello Peso, whose Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre Company is known for its challenging engagement with political and social issues. For JOMBA! he will be performing Lime Light on Rites, a work which explores the media exploitation of people’s emotions around funeral policies.

Speaking to the Weekend Witness, Peso said: “Death is big business in this country and there is great social pressure to have big funerals. This pressure is compounded through the advertising strategies that play on the poor and the weak, exploiting their grief.”

This year’s festival also features internationally acclaimed BBoy Kenji’s African premiere of A Contre Sud, a collaborative work with three dancers from Durban and one from Cape Town. The choreographer from Reunion Island also showcases a work by the Reunionaisse Soul City crew in Haine Terre Rieur.

Another international collaboration using Durban’s rich history of hip hop has been created by Flatfoot Dance Company in conjunction with Dutch choreographer Daniel Renner and Dutch BBoy Rodney Kasandikromo.

Dance fans can also look forward to the witty, The Making of Spectacles, by Swiss choreographer Foofwa d’Imobilité. In this dance theatre piece, the audience is invited to collaborate with the artistic team to compose a unique once off performance. It is sure to have audiences in stitches.

Also worth seeing is JOMBA!’s collaboration with the Durban Art Gallery on a special edition of Red Eye. Curated by edgy art and dance guru David Goul­die, the event on September 3 will host over 60 artists, musicians and dance theatre makers, all responding to the theme of “the body politic”.

Away from the main stage, dance fans can look forward to a packed Fringe programme featuring works by dancers and choreographers from all over South Africa. They will present a one-night kaleidoscope of new and experimental works on September 6.

Other attractions include master classes, open classes and workshops, which are free for young, training and professional dancers in Durban. Visit www.cca. ukzn.ac.za for programme details, workshop schedules and venues.

JOMBA! DATES

JOMBA! runs from September 1 to 12 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at UKZN, Durban. Tickets are R45 (R30 students, pupils and pensioners) from Computicket. Red Eye JOMBA! tickets at R50 can be bought at the Durban Art Gallery on September 3 from 6 pm.

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