Am I Free? is a dance work choreographed by Sabelo Maphumulo. Picture: Sanmari Marais
The State Theatre’s Incubation Programme is designed to accelerate the successful transition of semi-professional entrepreneurial artists through an array of business, technical and artistic mentorship.

“The programme’s main goal is to produce successful incubatees who will leave the programme financially viable and freestanding,” says Education Youth Children Theatre Manager, Thabiso Qwabe.

Funded by the Department of Arts and Culture, the programme covers artistic works including drama and musical theatre, visual arts, music and dance. It guides artists in personal development, content creation and production tools.

It also creates opportunities for them once they exit.

“The programme equips young artists with theoretical and experiential development in order to be sustainable in the industry,” says Qwabe.

Am I Free? is a dance work choreographed by Sabelo Maphumulo.

It explores the meaning of “freedom” and questions responsibilities that come with being free.

In South Africa, people are fighting one another and lives are being lost for trying to attain what they have voted for.

Freedom was hard earned, yet people lack the common understanding of what it truly means.

Maphumulo is a choreographic find of note. The young artist has the making of an individual choreographic voice. His style is an exciting fusion of technical contemporary dance with a tinge of African dance and a good measure of classical ballet vocabulary.

As is the case with a number of his African counterparts (most notably Dada Masilo), he steers away from what has traditionally become known as Afrofusion, and approaches Afro-contemporary dance in a brand-new and idiosyncratic way.

The work is well articulated and has a magnetic intensity.

It captivates one’s empathy with thrilling performances from a competent cast which includes professional dancers and students from TUT’s dance department.

With only five audience members for a Saturday night performance, one is unfortunately compelled to ask whether the incubation programme should not have taught their young artists how to reach a wider audience.

Doesn’t it defeat the objective?

This is particularly sad as Maphumulo’s work deserves to be seen.