Unpacking the Ar( t) chive
The Ar(t)chive is the only comprehensive dance archive in South Africa and the rest of Africa.
This research archive cannot be run by anybody other than Adrienne Sichel, the journalist, together with Marilyn Jenkins, who paved the first platform for a contemporary dance festival in Johannesburg in 1989 and thus became the co-founder of the Dance Umbrella.
Together with the Ar(t)chive’s project manager Jessica Denyschen, Sichel is currently charting the history of contemporary dancing in the country, which will be made available to people in the industry as well as the general public.
On 9 March, Sichel will meet with four choreographers, Tossie van Tonder ( Alfred Hinkel, co-founder of Garage Okiep; Mamela Nyamza (Wena Mamela) and Nelisiwe Xaba (Fremde Tänze) as part of the 2015 Dance Umbrella. The subject is These discussions will take place in Wits Downstairs at the Braamfontein campus, Johannesburg. In the production that Van Tonder will bring to this year’s Dance Umbrella, Chthonia, she draws on her dance archives st retching over 32 years. The title is poetic and charged with meaning: this Greek derivative literally refers to the underlying quality of land; it conjures up thoughts of abundance, but also of the grave.
As soundtrack for this production, Van Tonder makes use of music composed by Adam Michalak, a Polish musician who uses synthesised sounds and direct recordings.
will be performed in the John Kani theatre (Market theatre) in Johannesburg on 12 and 13 March.
In her Xaba brings to the fore a forgotten dance archive, which was created by German choreographers early in the 20th century, with their dancing heavily inf luenced by “exotic” or non-European genres.
As one of f our i nter nat i ona l choreographers during a stay at the Julius Hans Spiegel centre in Freiburg in the German Black Forest, Xaba did research on the work of Mary Wigman (18861973) and Sent M’Ahesa (1883-1970), two of the top exponents of German expressionism.
In her Fremde Tänze, Xaba adapted a beautiful play with concepts such as “exotic” and “Black Forest”.
will be produced in the Dance Factory, Newtown, Johannesburg, on 14 and 15 May.