The Centre for Creative Arts and its annual contemporary dance platform, JOMBA!, invite dance lovers to explore this year’s 11-day festival (April 22-May 3, 2009) at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
This 11th edition of the festival has dance offerings which encompass some of the very best of South African and international dancers and dance companies and some unique world premiere dance collaborations.
JOMBA! offers top contemporary dance from South Africa in the form of special guest, Sifiso Kweyama and his company, OKHELA Dance Theatre from Johannesburg.
Presenting two works, “The Language (they understand)” and “Watermelon”, Kweyama’s unique voice is his bold exploration of male identity and his unashamed access of his emotional male self. In “Watermelon” he asks, “What if the heart was a watermelon that needed water twice a day to keep it pumping? What happens if the heart does not get watered for two days, two weeks or three months?”.
JOMBA! has commissioned Durban ‘s much loved Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre to premiere two new works from budding choreographers, Ntombi Gasa and Neliswa Rushulang.
Both Gasa and Rushulang have recently been the joint recipients of the 2008 KZN DanceLink Abololongi Award for service to dance in KZN, and JOMBA! offers Durban audiences an opportunity to see the new stable of young Siwela Sonke dancers create the edgy work that this company has become famous for.
Rushulang’s work, “The Human Ladder”, is a heart-felt step into the idea of ubuntu and what it means to support one another, while Gasa’s work, ‘FACES’, is a bold political work that looks at a flailing human race On the international front.
And celebrating JOMBA ‘s commitment to showcase works from the African continent, the festival is hosting Theatre Taliipot – a theatre collective from Mauritius , Reunion and Madagascar.
Theatre Taliipot will perform a magical dance theatre work called ‘Mâ Ravan’.
Directed and choreographed by Philippe Pelen Baldini, ‘Mâ Ravan’ is a powerful invocation of the ancestral stories of the Indian Ocean through drums and dance. It is a music, dance and theatre show inspired by the ravanne, a round drum common to all Indian Ocean islands. This drum is a rallying point, creating alliances and linking different worlds together.
Moving to the West of Africa, Nigeria’s Ijodee Dance Company, from the port city of Lagos, will perform two award-winning solos and then premiere their new collaboration with Durban port city’s own inimitable Flatfoot Dance Company. The meeting of these two powerful African dance companies is sure to create a stir in their new full-length collaboration called ‘Encounters’.
Jointly choreographed by Adedayo M Liadi and Lliane Loots, ‘Encounters’ speaks of both the immense difficulty of meeting across South and West Africa, of missed trips and failed economic support, but also of individual will and spirit which teaches that when bodies dance and beat drums together they cannot but form bonds of the heart.
A first for JOMBA! this year is the JOMBA! Dance On Screen, curated by South Africa ‘s Jeannette Ginslov and Gerard Bester [ montage video dance festival & Walking Gusto Productions]. Thirteen short films from around the world are on show, offering audiences the very best of international ‘dance on screen’.
The festival FRINGE (26 April at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre) and YOUTH FRINGE (happening at the Dorothy Nyembe Hall in Cato Manor at 2pm on the 25 April) offers open platforms to new dance makers; young and old alike. These developmental showcases, replete with surprise packages, provide exciting public opportunities for emerging talent.
Also featured will be a series of free dance workshops with the festivals participating local, national and international dancers and choreographers. However, these activities require prior booking through the Centre for Creative Arts.
Article based on a Press Release by Sharlene Versfeld (Versfeld and Associates).