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FRESH from a recent trip to the renowned Broadway Dance Centre in New York, Durban’s acclaimed dance troupe Dance Movement are back in town and will be showing off the product of their US visit.
Award-winning choreographer and Dance Movement leader Jarryd Watson will be hosting the first annual Durban Dance Movement Festival this weekend.
The festival will showcase professional dancers, studios, community groups, street groups and youth groups performing styles including hip hop, contemporary, street and break-dancing.
Watson and his team were recently invited to attend the Broadway Dance Centre for professional training and performance development workshops with international choreographers best known for their work on the US show So You Think You Can Dance and the hit film series Step Up.
“Wow! There were so many highlights from the trip, I don’t even know where to begin… but if I can mention my favourite three, these were definitely working with one of the best choreographers and soaking up the training, meeting famous dancers like Robert, Eleanor and Cole from the So You Think You Can Dance American series; and getting to visit the White House, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty,” he said.
Now, showcasing what they learnt in New York, Watson said the Durban Dance Movement Festival is set to be on another level.
“The plans began when I came back from New York.
“When I saw how the dance industry and environment works in New York, I was motivated to do something big for dance, and that’s when the idea of the Durban Dance Movement Festival came to light.
“The aim is to give a new platform to dancers and choreographers to showcase their works, and most importantly to promote funding for rising professional dance companies like the KwaMashu School of Contemporary Dance, Dance Movement, Floor Assassins and D&C Dance Company,” he explained.
Watson said the broader vision is for the festival to create opportunities for growth and development in the arts. “This festival features Dance Movement, as well as other dance studios and groups and professionals from throughout Durban.
“It will create so many opportunities in so many ways, and with the support of the National Arts Council and the Department of Arts and Culture, we hope that this will be an annual event.
“We also hope that in the future we can invite groups from the US and Italy that I have networked with in my recent travels overseas.”
The Wentworth Arts and Culture Organisation (Waco), supported by the Arts and Culture Trust’s Development Programme, are hosting the Durban Dance Movement Festival.
According to a press release, Waco, which was established in 1994, is a non-profit organisation that aims to promote and maintain free expression in arts and culture; and to advance dignity, rights and socio-economic well-being through arts and culture.
To date, its most successful project is the Dance Movement troupe. Through the project, dancers represented South Africa at prestigious festivals and international competitions, including a trip to Scotland (2010) and England (2011).
It was recently awarded the 2012 Sapref Sustainable Community Development Award for the outstanding work they do in the community.
• The festival will run from December 6 to 8 at the Catalina Theatre, Wilson’s Wharf. There are four showcases over the three-day festival: on December 6 at 7pm, December 7 at 2.30pm and 7pm, and December 8 at 2.30pm. A Broadway Dance Workshop will be held on December 8 from 9am to 12.30pm at a cost of R50. Tickets can be purchased from Computicket for R100. For more information, contact 082 683 9665.