Offers a feast of local and world dancers
THIS year’s JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience promises to be be a delight of local and international dance theatre.
Running at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College campus from August 28 to September 8, the festival, which is now in its 15th year, will showcase the best dance the world has to offer.
Dancers from Holland, Switzerland, the U.S., Portugal and France will be performing alongside some of South Africa’s most cutting-edge dancers, including the 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist award winner for dance, Fana Tshabalala.
His new work, Indumba, premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown to critical acclaim.
Working with Johannesburgbased Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, Tshabalala’s work is a poetic encounter with African ritual and contemporary sensibility.
Considered one of South Africa’s most fluid and elegant dancers, Tshabalala’s vision is a startling reminder of the confluence of style, form and African sensibility.
Another must-see is the collaboration between Durban-based dancer and choreographer Desiré Davids and the French-based Hélène Cathala, in a soulful duet called B.L.E.N.D.
The two women artists, one “coloured” and South African, and one white and French, share the stage in a confrontation of their divergent histories. This drives them to really get to know one another but also, sometimes, drives them both into a void of personal and artistic incomprehension.
JOMBA! is also hosting, in partnership with the American Consulate in Durban and the United States Department of State’s arts envoy programme, the Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre company. Deeply Rooted will spend two weeks in Durban working with young dancers in JOMBA’s dance education and development programme in Umlazi, kwaMashu, and Tugela Mouth, run in conjunction with the Flatfoot Dance Company.
The company’s dancers will share their skills and philosophy with over 600 KZN dancers in the cultural exchange. Deeply Rooted’s participation in JOMBA! will culminate in two performances on September 7 and September 8. In a style that oozes with the jazz history of the AfricanAmerican experience, Deeply Rooted will present choreography that threads together some of their key signature dance works.
The company’s dancers will also partner with the six resident dancers of Flatfoot, following two weeks of learning Deeply Rooted’s repertoire and sharing styles and methods.
Lovers of ballet and neo-classical dance can enjoy performances by Holland’s Introdan, who will present a programme titled Superstars, which features five choreographies by five of Holland and Europe’s most influential dance makers — Anaphase by Ohad Naharin, Evening Songs by Ji í Kylián, Nacho Duato’s Sinfonía India, Pas de Danse by Mats Ek and Polish Pieces by the Dutch maestro Hans van Manen.
Other performers headed to Durban include: • Portuguese dancer Francisco Camacho, who presents The King In Exile, which draws inspiration from Dom Manuel 2, the last king of Portugal. It is an exploration of contemporary political power that will no doubt speak to Africa; and • Swiss duo T42, made up of dancers Misato Inoue and Félix Duméril, present a work which is a confrontation with difference, and the old ideas that European identity is singular. Known for their technical virtuosity and dexterity as contemporary dancers, T42’s work has been singled out for its humour and for allowing space for laughter in battling the misunderstandings between East and West.
This year, JOMBA! is also joining forces with artSPACE Durban to present a one-off evening of site-specific dance work at the gallery at 3 Millar Road, Durban, on September 2.
The event will include Musa Hlatshwayo and Vusi Makanya’s latest local dance offerings, and a solo by T42’s Inoue called Swan, which harks back to Swan Lake’s infamous black and white swans, and to a female body caught in opposition.
Also on view at the event is a collection of award-winning oneminute dance films from around the globe, curated by Jeannette Ginslov’s ScreenDance Africa.
In addition to the main programme, JOMBA! will host its usual Fringe (September 1) and Youth Fringe ( August 31) programmes. With over 60 entries in this year’s Fringe, the selection of only 10 works was a difficult task.
The JOMBA! Youth Fringe takes place at the Wiggins Community Hall in Cato Manor/Umkhumbane, and is a celebration of over 28 KZN-based youth dance groups.
JOMBA! also offers a full programme of workshops and master classes by the participating dancers and choreographers. For a full listing, go to www.cca.ukzn.ac.za and select the JOMBA! page. These workshops and classes are free, but booking is essential.
Last, but not least, artistic director Lliane Loots will host the JOMBA! Talks Dance platforms with the dancers and choreographers presenting work at the festival. They will be held directly after performances. — Arts Editor. • firstname.lastname@example.org