By Sharlene Versfeld
Published August 20,2010
For 12 days in September 2010 Durban is set to play host to a dazzling 12th edition of the international contemporary dance festival, JOMBA! One of four annual festivals hosted by the University of
KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience has become synonymous with cutting-edge dance theatre. This bumper event that runs September 1-12, 2010 contains a programme of broad scope and appeal.
On the international front, JOMBA! 2010 presents dance works from the Netherlands, Switzerland and Reunion Island, alongside wonderful offerings from both Durban and nationally-based dance companies.
Special guests include Johannesburg’s inimitable Moving Into Dance Mophatong who will grace JOMBA! with Sylvia Glasser’s award-winning “Threads”. This work has been created in collaboration with poet Lebo Mashile and is a rare chance for Durban to witness this poet
extraordinaire in action with one of South Africa ‘s premier contemporary dance companies in a momentous fusion of dance and spoken word.
Also from Gauteng Province is choreographer Sello Peso whose Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre Company is known for its conceptually challenging engagement with political and social issues. For JOMBA! he will be performing his recently created “Lime Light on Rites”. This site-specific dance work, performed in an outside environment of the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, explores the media exploitation of people’s emotions around funeral policies. Peso comments: “Death is big business in this country and there is great social pressure to have big funerals.This pressure is compounded through the advertising strategies that play on the poor and the weak, exploiting their grief”. Peso will also be offering a master choreographic workshop during JOMBA! to all young artists/choreographers interested in creating site-specific theatre work.
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Supporting local dance is one of JOMBA!’s key missions and this year commissions to create new work have been awarded to three of Durban ‘s top dance makers – Desiré Davids, Vusi Makhanya and Sifiso Majola. All three have a strong dance history behind them and step onto the ‘JOMBA! New Works’ platform as seasoned and creative choreographers. The exciting New Works programme featuring these commissioned works will open the 12th edition of JOMBA! on September 1, 2010.
The 2010 festival also has a strong focus on international collaborations that highlight the great Hip-Hop and Breakdance legacies of Durban. In a city-to-city exchange between the harbour cities of Durban and le Port on Reunion Island, the internationally acclaimed BBoy Kenji presents the African premiere of “A Contre Sud”, a collaborative work with three dancers from Durban and one from Cape Town. Kenji also showcases his Reunionaisse Soul City crew in the red-hot piece “Haine Terre Rieur”. Over and above this, Durban ‘s incomparable Flatfoot Dance Company will be collaborating with Dutch choreographer Daniel Renner and Dutch BBoy Rodney Kasandikromo, whose unique fusion of Breakdance, Hip-Hop and classical training is sure to impress and inspire local audiences and budding bboyz. Joining Flatfoot Dance Company in this unique JOMBA! collaboration are local Durban breakdancers Preston Kyd and Craig Katts. Renner’s unique style has won awards across Europe and it is a privileged delight to have him creating work for JOMBA!
Supported by Pro-Helvetia Arts Council of Switzerland, the witty and somewhat participatory dance theatre work, “The Making of Spectacles”, by Swiss choreographer Foofwa d’Imobilité, is a wry comment on the art form of choreography. In this dance theatre piece, the audience is invited to collaborate with the artistic team in order to compose a unique once off performance. The elements presented (dance phrases, dramatic scenarios, music, lighting design, and costuming) are carefully crafted in advance and offered as tools to the spectators/audiences for the creation of a dance to their taste. After playful, democratic voting, where humor is invited, the spectators/audiences can enjoy the synthesis of their group decisions. It is sure to have audiences in stitches!
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Of special interest this year is JOMBA!’s collaboration with the Durban Art Gallery and a special edition of the popular RED EYE. Billed as “Red Eye JOMBA!”, and curated by edgy art and dance guru David Gouldie, this event (Friday 3 September) which is also part of Celebrate Durban, will host over 60 artists, musicians and dance theatre makers all responding to the theme of ‘the body politic’. Come eat, drink and party and be prepared to be dazzled, amazed, baffled, and definitely have something to talk about!
JOMBA! also offers its popular dance development platforms of the Fringe and Youth Fringe. This year’s edition of the JOMBA! Fringe has attracted dancers and choreographers from all over South Africa offering a one night (6 September 2010, Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre) kaleidoscope of new and experimental works. Thirteen works have been selected and provide a wide range of short contemporary dance works in the making.
The JOMBA! Youth Fringe, hosted this year at Cato Crest/Umkhumbane’s Dorothy Nyembe Hall on Sunday 5 September at 2pm, is a free and open event for Durban ‘s youth dance groups to strut their stuff and dance just for the sheer joy of it! Sixteen youth groups have been selected and this is sure to be an afternoon of delights and some very beautiful
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JOMBA! will also host a wide range of master classes, open classes and workshops all free of charge to young, training and professional dancers in Durban. Visit cca.ukzn.ac.za/jomba_2010.htm for programme details, workshop schedules and venues.
The festival runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre and ticket prices range are ZAR45 for adults, ZAR30 for students, scholars and pensioners, and block bookings of more than 10 at ZAR30 a ticket. Booking is through Computicket.
Red Eye JOMBA! tickets are ZAR50 per person and are only available at the Durban Art Gallery on the night of the September 3, 2010 from 6pm.
JOMBA! 2010 is made possible with support by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (principle funder), the National Arts Council, the City of Durban, HIVOS, Pro-Helvetia Arts Council of Switzerland, Karbardock, and other valued partners.