Jomba! Contemporary Dance

11JOMBA2009-poster35022 April - 3 May 2009
Contemporary Dance

The Centre for Creative Arts and its celebrated annual contemporary dance platform, JOMBA!, invites dance-lovers to explore this year's 11 day festival spanning two weeks. This 11th edition of the festival has dance offerings which encompass the very best of local and international dancers and dance companies and some unique world premiere dance collaborations. For more information go to or read more below.

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 heartfelt 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 Island and Madagascar . They will perform a magical dance theatre work called “Mâ Ravan”. Directed and choreographed by Philippe Pelen Baldini, this work 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. Performers sing, dance and play and make the ravanne dance to awaken the memories of individual and collective stories written on everyone's skin, on the dancers' skin, echoing that of ravannes.

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 Ekhaya Multi-Arts Centre (Kwa-Mashu) 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.