Dancers mak­ing a dif­fer­ence

The Independent on Saturday - - LIFESTYLE - VA­LEN­CIA GOVINDASAMY am here) N’gila (I N’gila (I am here)


DUR­BAN’S Flat­foot Dance Com­pany is show­cas­ing an in­te­grated dance per­for­mance with dancers who have Down syn­drome.

is an af­fir­ma­tion of faith, courage and the joy of dance. It is chore­ographed by Lliane Loots, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with eight dancers from Flat­foot Dance Com­pany and Flat­foot Downie Dance Com­pany, at the El­iz­a­beth Sned­don The­atre on November 20.

Ac­cord­ing to award-win­ning chore­og­ra­pher Loots, the show is a cel­e­bra­tion of the power of dance to shift lives, and to ne­go­ti­ate dif­fer­ence and in­clu­siv­ity:

“It ex­plores the con­cept of liv­ing democ­racy and the method­ol­ogy of deal­ing with young adults with dis­abil­i­ties. They are amaz­ing and strong and beau­ti­ful. The show is about cross­ing bor­ders, race, gen­der and dis­abil­ity bor­ders and shift­ing the pre­con­cep­tions of who has ac­cess to dance.

“Dis­abil­i­ties are of­ten hid­den and shamed and this show is about break­ing those bar­ri­ers, around phys­i­cal and men­tal chal­lenges.”

This par­tic­u­lar pro­gramme be­gan in Au­gust 2017, with the visit by Dutch chore­og­ra­pher Adri­aan Luteijn, of In­tro­dans, and his col­lab­o­ra­tion with Flat­foot. The per­for­mance by the Flat­foot Dance Com­pany is the cul­mi­na­tion of this year-long pro­gramme.

For Loots, the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence has been awe-in­spir­ing: “I’ve worked with dancers who had phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties, but work­ing with dancers with men­tal dis­abil­i­ties has been some­thing new to me.

“Work­ing with peo­ple liv­ing with Down syn­drome has been the most joy­ful work I’ve ever done. Th­ese young adults are such beau­ti­ful be­ings. When they don’t want to dance dur­ing our chore­og­ra­phy lessons, they say no which is some­thing I’m not used to.

“It’s taught me pa­tience and to work in dif­fer­ent ways. I’m hum­bled by this ex­pe­ri­ence and at the end of the day, it’s about con­nect­ing with hu­man be­ings and some­thing just shifts. To be able to watch the­ses dancers, who have been writ­ten off by so­ci­ety, and de­velop such a pro­found spec­ta­cle of dance is an amaz­ing feel­ing,” said Loots.

The ti­tle, cen­tres around the idea of Ubuntu. “We’re us­ing the idea of what it is to look at some­one and their hu­man­ity, and chal­lenge the very core foun­da­tions of who we think can and should dance pro­fes­sion­ally.”

Loots said the per­for­mance should not be mis­taken for a pity party. “This is a full-on pro­fes­sional show, with pro­fes­sional dancers.

“Th­ese young adults get bet­ter every day.”

She says they have the abil­ity to re­mem­ber com­plex move­ments and work with part­ners. They are not bro­ken. “They are who they are, they are a cel­e­bra­tion of dif­fer­ence.”

Funds raised from the per­for­mance will be used to­wards sup­port­ing the Flat­foot Down Syn­drome Dance pro­gramme for 2019.

The show is on November

20 at the El­iz­a­beth Sned­don The­atre. Tick­ets are R80 each. To pre-book tick­ets con­tact: flat­foot­dance­com­

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