13th Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience

Jomba_poster_website31 Aug - 11 Sept 2011
Contemporary Dance

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. Now in its 13th year, and supported by the National Lottery Distribution Fund, 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 solo works by four prominent local and international women choreographers. 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 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 these cutting-edge dancers whose bodies ooze strength, power and control, break new ground in the interface between theatre and streetdance.

The closing night of JOMBA! on 11 September will include the Eric Shabalala Dance Champion Award for selfless service, social upliftment and innovative practice in the field of dance. Eric, who passed away recently, was a founder member of Siwela Sonke and director of Shiwebeka Dance.

JOMBA! takes place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (University of KwaZulu-Natal) except for one of the major highlights of this year’s festival, 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, as well as leading DJ’s and bands – 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. In addition, 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. 

Keep an eye also for two special editions of the JOMBA! Khuluma mini-newspaper - this is a residency project in which veteran journalist Adrienne Sichel will mentor talented young writers in the intracacies of interpreting and writing about performance. Follow the JOMBA! Khuluma blog on http://jombakhuluma.blogspot.com Sichel will also facilitate the JOMBA! Talks Dance sessions, where dancers and choreographers speak about their work, and debate is raised around dance in South Africa. 

For full programme details visit www.cca.ukzn.ac.za Look out for a series of free dance workshops with dancers and choreographers participating in the festival. Advance booking is essential. To book contact 031-2602506. 

The 13th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience is organized by the Centre for Creative Arts (University of KwaZulu-Natal) and supported by National Distribution Trust Fund (principal funder), HIVOS, City of Durban, French Institute of South Africa and the Goethe Institut of South Africa.