DANCERS from South Africa, the African continent and Europe will be showcasing their work at the 19th annual Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience, which runs at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Howard College campus in Durban from August 23 to September 3.
Hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts, the opening night will feature choreography by celebrated dancer and dance-maker, Gregory Maqoma, of Vuyani Dance Theatre, in collaboration with Helge Letonja, of Germany’s steptext dance projects.
During the same evening, Benin dancer and choreographer, Marcel Gbeffa, will perform his acclaimed solo work Et Si …, through the support of Alliance Française (Durban), the Institut Français d’Afrique du Sud.
He will also run Jomba’s annual festival residency with five local dancers: Bonwa Mbontsi and Tegan Peacock, from Pietermaritzburg, Steven Banzoulu, Sibonelo “China” Mchunu, and Kim McCusker-Bartlett. The culmination of the residency will be presented at the KZNSA Gallery in Glenwood on Monday, August 28 at 6 pm.
The gallery will also play host to three new works by Durban dancers Sifiso Khumalo, Lorin Sookool and Mdu Mtshali.
A founding member of Flatfoot Dance Company, Khumalo’s Isifungo (meaning oath) uses the extremities of the stairs of the gallery space as dancers defy gravity and leap on walls and ceilings to look at how we break the oaths we make in our lives. Dancers find themselves trapped in between the walls of commitment.
Sookool will perform her solo Bad in the main gallery space. The work is a sharp and witty exploration of the notion of post-feminism in an image-obsessed and web-empowered generation.
Through the portrayal of iconic sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe, Bad investigates the tension between the female body as an object and the female body as sacred.
Originally a Durban girl, Sookool is presently a company member at the Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC), based in rural Mpumalanga.
The evening of dance will end with a duet by veteran Durban dancer Mtshali called Alive Kids. Performed in the courtyard of the gallery, it offers up the image of two disenfranchised street children finding grace. The work is danced by the two 2017 ‘poster boys’ for Jomba!, Nqubeko Ngema and Njabulo Zungu.
Cape Town-based Mamela Nyamza, makes her Jomba! debut this year. Often called the agent provocateur of South African contemporary dance, her outspoken and politically edgy work has garnered a worldwide reputation.
In De-Apart-Hate Nyamza takes on the legacy of the “rainbow nation” and questions issues around religion, race, sexuality and gender. The work is not for the faint-hearted, but will definitely be the talking point for this year’s festival.
With a strong emphasis on looking at key women choreographers making dance waves in South Africa, the festival is also hosting a performance this the 2017 Standard Bank Young Artist (SBYA) for dance, Thandazile “Sonia” Radebe.
As a 2003 graduate of Moving Into Dance Mophatong, she spent more than 15 years working with MIDM before heading off on her own.
Her work commissioned for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, Sabela, is inspired by our names as human beings. Through it Radebe explores the tension between names and numbers and ultimately concludes that we do not have to be reduced to ID numbers, student numbers, employee numbers, prison numbers, and patient numbers. It is a thoughtful and deeply beautiful dance work that defines a new lexicon of important dance works emerging in South Africa.
In addition to the main programme, the Jomba! Fringe will feature 10 new 10 to 15 minute works on August 29 and on the Youth Fringe at UKZN’s Open Air Theatre on August 27. Entry to the event, which is a celebration of over 20 KwaZulu-Natal-based youth dance groups, is free.
Jomba! also offers a full programme of workshops and master classes by the participating dancers and choreographers.
These workshops and classes are offered free of charge to dancers over 16 years of age, but booking is essential via firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For a full listings and the programme go to http://www.cca.ukzn.ac.za and click the link to the Jomba! page. You can also follow the festival on Facebook and on Twitter @Jomba_dance