Celebrating dance at the Ingoma competition

 

THE Playhouse Company presents the 5th annual Ingoma competition at the SJ Smith Stadium (eWema), Lamontville, from 9 am on March 21. Admission is free.

Groups from around KwaZulu-Natal will compete in various categories for prizes and trophies and, of course, the prestige of winning this important competition.

“We are thrilled to present this colourful and vibrant open-air event as part of our 2016 programme. This competition is one of the highlights on The Playhouse Company’s calendar, and has drawn thousands of music and dance enthusiasts from all corners of South Africa annually over the past five years,” said Linda Bukhosini, The Playhouse Company’s CEO and Artistic Director.

“As part of our endeavours to promote and preserve traditional art-forms, The Playhouse Company is once again reaching out to those whose culture embraces traditional dance styles that are part of KwaZulu-Natal’s rich heritage.”

In isiZulu, the word “ingoma” literally translates as “anthem’’, but nowadays tends to refer to the many and varied dance styles that exist within Zulu culture, particularly in the competitive arena.

Groups who enter the competition will be judged on their performances in the following dance style categories: Ingoma; Isgekle; Ushameni; Ingoma Yezintombi; Ingoma Sikhuze and Indlamu, all of which involve movements with symbolic meaning.

Traditionally, each particular dance is performed by specific people of a particular age, gender and status, and at a particular time or period such as a season or a month or an event such as a wedding.

Body position and movements are highly specific to the particular dance style and region. In fact, even within a region such as KZN, dance styles may vary from village to village. Dance among Zulu people is said to operate similarly to language and as a medium through which to communicate history. Spectators often show their appreciation by ululating (ukukikizela) and showing their backs (ukushikila).

Probably the best-known Zulu dance style, Indlamu is said to imitate the surging ocean or boiling water, and involves lively foot-stamping with sharp, angular and highly-energetic movements performed mostly by younger dancers in teams.

The dance is accompanied by drums and whistles, and sometimes bells, shakers and wind instruments. As some forms of Indlamu make use of shields and sticks, these forms are referred to as war dances, with the focus and direction of the dancers suggesting advance and retreat.

The MCs for the event will be Zimiphi ‘Zim Dollar’Biyela and Mdu Jali.

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