MIDM dancers. Picture: Twitter
South African dance will take centre stage when Moving Into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) performs three celebrated works at the In2IT International Dance Festival in Norway later this month.

In November 2016, MIDM received an invitation from Tendai Malvine Makurumbandi, artistic director of In2IT International Dance Festival, to perform as one of the invited companies at the festival.

Based in Sunndalsøra, Norway, the festival aims to promote cultural integration, innovation and excellence, using dance as the material to create opportunities and an environment that will enhance and promote artistic growth and cultural collaboration.

“MIDM are no strangers to the international arena,” Mark Hawkins, the artistic director of MIDM, said.

“The company has repeatedly performed abroad to great appeal and critical acclaim. The international recognition that we receive signifies that African contemporary dance has something distinctive to offer and that the work is evidently of an estimable standard.”

Many dancers start their training at MIDM against their communities’ traditional views of what a “real job” should entail and often is against their families’ backing. Being recognised reinforces their identities as artists by validating their talents and acknowledging their skills, and it fosters recognition from their communities.

MIDM dancers. Picture: John Hogg

“Upon returning from international performances, our dancers are frequently greeted with great celebration within their communities,” Hawkins explained.

Being part of the international dance fraternity not only allows MIDM’s artists a terrific platform to showcase their own contributions, it also provides the dancers with invaluable exposure to global dance trends and developments, and provides opportunities for them to learn from leading figures in the dance world.

During the their time in Sunndalsøra, MIDM will be hosting workshops in Afro fusion, contemporary, pantsula and South African street dance styles.

MIDM will also be engaging with the public in a few “pop-up”, site--specific interventions and performances prior to, and during the In2IT International Dance Festival, in a variety of locations.

The three works being performed are fight, flight, feathers, f***ers choreographed by Rachel Erdos and Sunnyboy Motau, Road by Oscar Buthelezi and My Black is Black by Sunnyboy Motau.

These works were selected by Makurumbandi after seeing their reviews when they were performed at the National Arts Fest, the Wits 969 Festival and also at Dance Umbrella.

He had also read about the massive success that was bestowed on Oscar Buthelezi’s major win at the Kurt Jooss Awards, where he won both the Jury Prize and a unanimous Audience Choice Award.

It was the first time an African choreographer was chosen as a finalist in the competition.

The company has also been invited as Company in Residency during the IN2IT Dance Residency, where MIDM’s Sunnyboy Motau will create a collaborative work incorporating five dancers from MIDM, five dancers from Compassion 2 Dance (based in Sunndalsøra) and five dancers from the M&R Regional Dance Company, Kompaniet. The work will premiere at the AMFI Cultural School and be performed at each of the MIDM performances during the festival.