Body talk

2011-08-26 15:21

Contemporary dance fans in Durban get to indulge in 11 days of cutting-edge dance from across the world at the 13th yearly Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience, which is on from Wednesday until September 11.

The festival is a mix of new and established works, and includes collaborative works with visiting choreographers as well as providing a place for dance lovers to see works that push boundaries and take the dialogue of the art form forward.

One of the highlights of this year’s festival is a piece that is the culmination of five years of collaboration between the festival and Nigerian choreographer Adedayo Liadi.

Liadi is excited to be creating an original piece in South Africa with local dancers.

He says: “Choreography is totally different here to how it is in Nigeria. We lack resources and we never come across the space we need.

“It is not so easy to make it in Nigeria. I have the biggest contemporary dance company in the country, but lack of funding means we have to do a lot of collaborations and rely on invitations from around the world.”

Frank Konwea, one of Liadi’s Ijodee Dance Company’s dancers, is working alongside the five resident dancers of Flatfoot in a new work titled Aye Asan, which means “vanity”.

Liadi says: “Working with Flatfoot means that I have the chance to use more than just bodies. You cannot explain everything with the body – I would like people to see multimedia too.

“Aye Asan is about the mystery of life, we human beings are destroying it. The damage that we are causing to Mother Earth and to the future, to the unborn generation.”

The director of the Flatfoot Dance company, Lliane Loots, says: “The piece he is doing is very heavy. It’s about the destruction of Africa, but he is like a poet the way he portrays it.

“We have been working together since 2006. In this instance, Adedayo’s working with the company without me. In other parts of Africa, the contemporary dance scene is very different and not so established.

“Adedayo’s a pioneer and his whole method of working in his African dance tradition with a contemporary dance aesthetic creates a new style.”

This African collaboration is one of the festival’s most important objectives, says Loots.

“One of our great mission statements is to collaborate and meet artists from around Africa.”

She goes on to say that having one of Liadi’s Nigerian dancers, Konwea, work with her dancers is very exciting in itself because, according to her, “it shifts everything and is a way of growing”.

Other shows to diarise at this year’s Jomba! include works by acclaimed local dancemakers. As well known to international dance fans as he is to local ones, choreographer Gregory Maqoma brings one of his most successful works to Jomba! this year.

Beautiful Me has travelled the world and now it comes to Durban, it is a solo work that was imagined with the creative input of Vincent Mantsoe, Akram Khan and Faustin Linyekula.

Another of the country’s famous choreographers, Dada Masilo, makes her Jomba! debut this year.

She brings her risk-taking solo work, The Bitter End of Rosemary, to the festival as part of the new Woman’s Solo Project, which features a quartet of adventurous women choreographers.

Among them is Desiree Davids, who premieres her dance film, which is a continuation of her festival work from last year. Loots has also created a piece for this segment of the festival.

Other highlights include the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Linyekula’s “more ... more ... more ... ?future”, as well as French break dancers Junior and Stylistik, who break down the barrier between street dancing and theatre with their stylised break-dance battles.

» The festival is at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre and the Durban City Hall from August 31 to September 11. Book at Computicket. Visit more ... more ... more ... future is on in Joburg on September 9 and 10 at the Dance Factory as part of New Dance 2011

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