BY BILLY SUTER
CAPE Town-based dance company Jazzart is to open the 21st Jomba! contemporary dance festival to be held at Durban’s Elizabeth Snoeddn Theatre and other local venues from August 27 to September 8.
The Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) and eThekwini Municipality are hosts of the event which promises contemporary dance that will titillate, challenge and entertain audiences of all ages and art inclinations.
Jazzart open the festival with their Jomba debut. In their programme, Sifiso Kweyama’s Cape of Ghosts digs deep to find the core of what constitutes the ownership of land in a beautiful and politically evocative work.
Durban’s own Boyzie Cekwana collaborates with Lebanese dance-maker Danya Hammoud in an intimate dance theatre experience that offers these two dancers in a duet titled Bootlegged. It speaks to the interior politics of relationships.
Fana Tshabalala, joins Jomba! as the UKZN Mellon Foundation Artist-in-residence collaborating with the Flatfoot Dance Company in an explosive premiere, says a spokesman.
“Called amaVendors, Tshabalala and Flatfoot’s piece explores the journey of women and men who wake up every day to sell items in the street, to provide for themselves and their loved ones. Fusing ritual and performance, Tshabalala takes audiences on a transformative journey.
“Tshabala also presents his solo, MAN, inspired by the ideal kind of a ‘man’ within society and how the roles and responsibilities have changed over the years – as a new type of ‘man’ is emerging/
One of the leading dance companies in Washington, the Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company, which is funded for this season by the US Consulate, presents work that sees the confluence of the ancient Indian style of Bharatha Natyam with the ethos and flow of contemporary modern dance.
From Durban’s twin city of New Orleans comes Leslie Scott’s company Body Art, in an intriguing. site-responsive work for the Durban Art Gallery, which will take audiences on a journey into the very heart of contemporary popular identity.
Scott’s dance work, hymn + them, is about the joys of going away, of leaving the greyness and entering the colour. Over the Rainbow is, or ought to be, the anthem of all the world’s migrants, all those who go in search of the place where the dreams really do come true.
The Durban Art Gallery event will also see a unique collection of short films guess-curated by Brazilian filmmaker Sofía Castro, who has been living and working in Argentina. She has collected five, short, dance films by Argentinian filmmakers/choreographers that explore the interior and exterior life of contemporary South American life.
South Africa’s icon of African contemporary dance, Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe, offers the world premiere of his new work SoliiDad, an abstract journey to oblivion. Mantsoe is considered to be one of the founding fathers of South African contemporary dance and now spends his time between France and South Africa teaching, choreographing and doing masterclasses.
Mantsoe is seen in a double bill with Johannesburg-based Lulu Mlangeni – a young dance-maker that is taking the country by storm – who will present her duet, The Encounter, a brave and unflinching contemporary journey into African spirituality and belonging.
‘Jomba On The Edge’ grants have been awarded to Sizwe Hlophe and Thulisile Binda. to premiere new works, and are given mentorship and the full support of the Jomba technical team to realise their work for the stage.
The 2019 Jomba Fringe offers the premiere of nine new dance works by JC Zondi (Pietermaritzburg), Carla Mostert (Durban), David April with students of the University of Pretoria, Lethiwe Mzimela (Durban), Nkanyiso Mazibuko (Durban), Vuyo Ndawonde (Pietermaritzburg), Sbonelo Mchunu (Durban), Yaseen Manuel (Cape Town) and Jabu Siphika (Durban).
The festival’s fringe will feature 18 youth dance groups from KwaZulu-Natal.
A series of free workshops and masterclasses is also offered in various venues in the Durban area and, while open to all, booking is essential.
Tickets cost R80 (R60 for student/scholar/pensioner/group bookings of more than 10). They are available at Computicket. For more information visit http://jomba.ukzn.ac.za/