By Centre for Creative Arts
Published August 23, 2011
The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts and its celebrated annual contemporary dance platform, JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, invites dance lovers to explore this year’s 11-day festival which opens on August 31, 2011and runs until September 11, 2011. Now in its 13th year, JOMBA! has dance offerings which encompass the very best of local and international dancers and dance companies.
Specifically aimed at nurturing local dance, the JOMBA! New Works programme this year features two innovative artists, Mlu Zondi and S’fiso Magesh Ngcobo, whose growing body of dance theatre work has critics and audiences sitting up and taking notice. New Works grants are offered as a way of encouraging choreographers to continue to develop and find their unique dance and choreographic voices. Ngcobo’s “Similar Pathways” explores the real meaning of ubuntu on life’s journey, while Zondi’s incorporates video artwork into a reflection of a dancer’s psyche and memory in “Devolva”.
From Johannesburg, Gregory Maqoma brings his deeply celebrated “Beautiful Me”, a dance work that has travelled the globe to critical acclaim. Maqoma, one of South Africa’s most internationally recognised choreographers, has worked with creative in-put from Akram Khan, Faustin Linyekula and Vincent Mantsoe in a dance and choreographic dialogue that has resulted in this fiercely beautiful solo work.
A first for JOMBA! this year is the adventurous “Women’s Solo Project” which has gathered together four prominent local and international women choreographers who have created solo works. From France, HÃ©lÃ¨ne Cathala joins JOMBA! with a work that celebrates the search for new dance languages; Durban’s DesirÃ© Davids has made a short dance film which is the second part of the work she premiered at JOMBA! in 2010; Lliane Loots has created a politically charged work on Flatfoot dancer TeeKay Quvane; and Gauteng-based Dada Masilo makes her JOMBA! debut with her controversial and celebrated solo, “The Bitter End of Rosemary”. Masilo, a virtuoso dancer known for the risk she takes, sets herself up with this work as one of South Africa’s most innovative young choreographers.
The facilitation of dance collaborations within Africa is a key JOMBA! objective, and this year sees Durban’s much-loved Flatfoot Dance Company collaborating with Nigeria’s Ijodee Dance Company. Lagos-based choreographer Adedayo Liadi will feature Ijodee’s Frank Konwea alongside the five resident dancers of Flatfoot in a new work with the Yoruba title, “Aye Asan”, meaning “vanity”.
African dance maker Faustin Linyekula, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, presents his work “more! more ! more! future”, which takes a critical look at post-independence in Africa and embraces the anarchy and chaos of making art in a time of struggle and trauma. Working with a live band on stage Faustin’s work looks to the nightclubs of Kinshasa as a way of making meaning in a society of greed and corruption.
JOMBA! is delighted to host two of the world’s most prestigious BBoyz (Junior and Stylistik) from France. These two world champion break-dancers have turned the contemporary dance world on its head by shifting what is often seen as an improvisation and “battle” dance form, to the theatre stage. Carefully constructed solo works by two dancers whose bodies ooze strength, power and control break new ground in the interface between theatre and the street dance.
A major highlight of this year’s festival is JOMBA! City, a site-specific dance and art-making encounter with the inner city of Durban. Curated by David Gouldie, this is sure to be the street party event of the year. The event features more than 100 artists, including Doung Anwar-Jahangeer, Ewok, Sifiso Khumalo and Vusi Makanya, among others, with leading DJs and bands performing into the late hours of the night; the statues of Queen Victoria will never be the same.
JOMBA! also presents the popular Fringe night which provides open platforms for new dance-makers. The Youth Fringe, which takes place at the Dorothy Nyembe Hall in Cato Crest, is a valuable platform for young dancers and the identification of new emerging talent.
Also lined up for presentation are a series of free dance workshops with dancers and choreographers participating in the festival in which advance booking is essential.