Empowering dance shared with locals

2017-08-23 06:00
PHOTO: SuppliedPeople, who were part of the ‘Skinner Camp’ workshop, which this year, taught contact improvisation dance form.

PHOTO: SuppliedPeople, who were part of the ‘Skinner Camp’ workshop, which this year, taught contact improvisation dance form.

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YOUNG people from in and around the Msunduzi Municipality and other areas were part of a theatre and dance workshop called the “Skinner Camp” held from August 7 to 11 in Cedara.

The workshop was facilitated by German-born and based dance instructor Bernd Knappe, who taught dancers about the contact improvisation dance form.

“Every other dance has a form, but this dance has no form,” Knappe told Echo.

“It is not a repetitive dance concerned with creating beauty and aesthetics and form.

“Contact improvisation is more interested in the communicative aspect of dance.”

Knappe said in general many dances communicate through certain steps and arrangements, which dancers are trained to follow.

“With contact improvisation there are no rules, except for no violence on the dance floor.

“There is no form. We negotiate every movement and communicate with our bodies regardless of how old the body is or feels, regardless whether the body is athletic or not,” he said.

With contact improvisation inclusivity is key.

Knappe says the dance is not a celebration of acrobatic ability, it’s about including young, old and people living with disabilities.

The workshop was the second annual­ gathering, the fruit of the relations formed between Knappe and Skebhe KaMhloli Trading and Projects managing director Skhumbuzo Dlamini when the latter visited Germany years ago.

Dlamini said several sessions preceded the week-long camp where young people from institutions of higher learning and those living with disabilities were given the opportunity to draw from Knappe’s knowledge and skills.

“Contact improvisation empowers people living with disabilities,” Knappe said.

He said this happens because
of the dance, as it encompasses
all the dancers, gives each
individual the chance to lead,
eventually forcing them to cede
that focus to others and so share
the focal­ point throughout the group, which is especially empowering for people living with disabilities.

“Everybody is welcome to the group because traditional leadership roles are abolished.

“This dance helps to build self-consciousness,” Knappe said.

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