Eleven trainees from the award-winning contemporary dance theatre company Jazzart, have graduated and completed their three-year course.
To celebrate they are staging Archives, at the Artscape Theatre this week. The production is a compilation of three works, choreographed by three generations of Jazzart artistic directors - Sifiso Kweyama, Jacqueline Manyaapelo, and Alfred Hinkel. The works represent the evolution of this NPO, looking at its legacy and offering a glimpse of the exciting future, and the South African contemporary dance scene as a whole.
Darion Adams, 22, from Manenberg, answers some leading questions about his passion for dance and choreography:
What makes you get up in the morning?
Knowing that I am pursuing my dreams and I am doing what I love. The ability to say to myself that I am more than capable of achieving my goals and believing that this will happen.
I saw dance at five years old. It was a male solo at the City Hall (church event) and I knew I wanted to do that.
I normally have a strong opinion on what I am passionate about and found that I could express my view through dance more clearly. It gives me the ability to share my perspectives with people and audiences without words. It is more comfortable to communicate through movement.
Your greatest inspiration or leading lights?
The Jazzart students performing at my school in Grade 9. I watched the company many times afterward and attended classes in my matric year. Jazzart then had the Artists in Residence programme where we had the opportunity to work with the Jazzart teachers at school.
My dance teacher, Anastasia Arendse, who taught me my first contemporary dance steps and exposed me to the world of dance.
Watching Shaun Oelf is my constant inspiration to continually to strive to be a better dancer
What has been the best thing you have learnt during your training?
The training programme has taught me the value of teamwork. This was never my strength.
If you had to choose your best performance moment what would it be?
The Our Women season, in June last year which was toured locally up to 2018. This is because I choreographed a piece of the work. Also, performing Insight, choreographed by Mziyanda Mancam, was challenging as it forced me to work outside my limits as a performer. “Dankbaar” choreographed by Sifiso Kweyama was special as the tribute and plight of our women was the core of the story. It highlights how women and mothers support each other to raise their children in the best way they can, in varying circumstances. I was raised by a single mother, so this piece really spoke to me on a personal level.
Your greatest advice to someone starting off as a young dancer?
Find the best institution/organisation that has good teachers and listen to them. They have your best interests at heart. Work hard every day and at every class - small details have great benefits.
How do you bring your life as a born free into your work?
Being born into freedom in a country that currently has many issues on various levels, I am free to choose stories that speak to me and of the country, selecting movement that I feel will best fit the plight of the people, will relate to their current situations and will connect with them emotionally and intellectually. This has allowed me the possibility to speak to more than one demographic and connect with people of all ages. This would not be possible if I was born in the apartheid era.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I see myself as a sustainable artist and businessman. With so many artists struggling to find a stable income, I intend to study business to equip myself with the skills I need to be financially secure. I see myself working among other seasoned professionals but also keeping grounded and giving back to my communities like where I am currently from.
* Archives will be presented in the Artscape Theatre on Friday June 22 at 7.30pm and on Saturday June 23 at 3pm and 7.30pm. Tickets cost R100 for adults, R50 for scholars or the season special of R150 for 2 tickets. Tickets are available at Computicket 0861 915 8000 or www.computicket.com Proceeds from ticket sales and support go towards expanding Jazzart’s training programme and into establishing further outreach partnerships.