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 31 August and runs until 11 September. JOMBA! now in its
13th year and supported by the National Lottery Distribution Fund, 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, Hélène Cathala
joins JOMBA! with a work that celebrates the search for new dance
languages; Durban’s Desiré 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 most prestigious BBoyz –
Junior and Stylistik, from France. These two world champion
break-dancers have tuned 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 streetdance.
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 over 100 artists, including Doung
Anwar-Jahangeer, Ewok, Sifiso Khumalo and Vusi Makanya, amongst others,
with leading DJ’s 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.
Look out for a series of free dance workshops with dancers and
choreographers participating in the festivals. Advance booking is
essential. To book contact 031-2602506.