Flatfoot dancers explore the meaning of home

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Flatfoot dancers Kirsty Ndawo and Sanele Maphumulo in Homeland. Photo: Val Adamson

DURBAN’S Flatfoot Dance Company is offering a new season of dancework, titled Homeland, at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from April 6 to 10. Showtimes are 7.30 pm on April 6, 7, 8 and 9 and at 3 pm on April 10.

This season sees long-time friends and dance making colleagues, Lliane Loots and Sbonakaliso Ndaba, join choreographic forces once again. They last worked together in 2005 on a dance work poetically titled Side by Side for the Playhouse Women’s Arts Festival. Homeland comes just over 10 years on, and Durban is in for a dance explosion!

Artistic director of Flatfoot, Loots says: “Sbo is like family to me, a sister, and so the chance to sit in a rehearsal space and work with her again feels like an enormous artistic and personal gift. We work very differently and make very different work aesthetically and I love this – I am pushed and forced to re-evaluate what I create”.

Ndaba added: “Coming back to Durban and to Flatfoot is like a homecoming to me. This is one of the first company’s I created work with as a young independent choreographer and I am very excited to be invited back. The Flatfoot studio still has my ancestors and so I am going to greet them again and work with some familiar and wonderful Durban dancers.”

Homeland offers two works separated by a short interval. Given the recent xenophobic attacks, the continued rise of racism on social media, and the huge increasing levels of gender violence, both choreographers begin to look into the meaning of home.

The first work is crafted by Ndaba and is a powerhouse of African contemporary dance rhythms. She says: “Homeland for me speaks about where I come from, where my umbilical cord lies, where I speak my mother tongue with pride and no fear of shame. Homeland is where my great-great-grandmothers fought wars so that I can walk, speak and dance in freedom. Homeland is loving my own brown skin and waking up each morning to see another day despite so much … “

The second work sees Loots collaborate with the Flatfoot dancers on a work that looks at Homeland from the pain of the global refugee crisis that sees millions of people forced to leave or evacuated their homes due to war and political, social or natural disasters.

With 2014 United Nations figures siting that a new refugee or an internally displaced person is created every five seconds somewhere on the planet, Loots and the dancers respond to false notion of belonging to a nation state and of feeling safe at ‘home’.

With a deep resonance towards the pain of South Africa’s own xenophobia and continued racism, Loots’ Homeland begins to claims back the internal safety of a resistant (dancing!) self that seeks community in other ways; ways that talk back! Powerful and feisty work that, in Loots’s resolute dance making style, is sure to be controversial!

Loots has also collaborated with Karen Logan for filmic images and installations for Homeland and Wesley Maherry has designed the lighting for both works.

Flatfoot dancers for this season are, Jabu Siphika, Zinhle Nzama, Kirsty Ndawo, Kim McCusker, Sifiso Khumalo, Tshediso Kabulu and Sanele Maphumulo.

The Thursday, April 7 show offers a rare treat for dance audiences when arts journalist, Adrienne Sichel (The Ar(t)chive, Wits School of Arts) hosts a special on stage after performance discussion with both choreographers and members of the dance company. This is your chance to get up close and personal with the dance makers and ask questions.

Booking is through Computicket.

 

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