The Garage Dance Ensemble. Picture: Jadon Dale PHotography
The Garage Dance Ensemble. Picture: Jadon Dale PHotography

African productions to be honoured at virtual JOMBA!

By Alyssia Birjalal Time of article published Aug 13, 2021

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Every year South Africans look forward to JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience - a feast of dance productions that sets the stage on fire.

This year, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the dance festival takes place virtually from August 24 to September 5 for free.

Key South African and African dance makers and companies who are forging new ground in their works will be honoured under the platform of South African Crossings.

The three dance programmes include Garage Dance Ensemble (O’okiep, South Africa), Cape Town dancer and choreographer Yaseen Manuel (in collaboration with Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company) and two works presented by the Vrystaat Kunste Vees and New Dance.

In the African Crossings Platform there are four screen dance films created by Marcel Gbeffa (Benin), Gaby Saranouffi (Madagascar), Robert Ssempijja (Uganda) and Bernardo Guiamba (Mozambique).

The Garage Dance Ensemble founded by SA dance icons, John Linden and Alfred Hinkel will presents “Gat innie Grond, Wond in My Siel” (Hole in the Ground, Wound in my Soul) choreographed by Byron Klassen.

The production's main focus is to facilitate a process of exploring and translating the memories, trauma and current lived experiences of South Africa's first people.

The Garage Dance Ensemble. Picture: Jadon Dale Photography

Cape Town dancer and choreographer Yaseen Manuel who has been working with Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company to create “Unhinged” – which narrates the four phases of an individual suffering with schizophrenia, set against the backdrop of South Africa.

Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company.

Manuel will also present his own work, “Al-Kitab” which looks at the life of a contemporary South African Islamic dancer that finds himself torn between religion and his art.

The final two resultant films, by Sylvester Thamsanqa Majela and Sizakele Mdi called “Crossings” will be presented.

From Benin, Marcel Gbeffa, the founder and artistic director of Centre Choregraphique Multicorps in Cotonou (Benin), and his short film “In my mind”, begins to unravel the oppression of the lockdown and how the human mind finds other escapes, travelling through space and time.

Madagascar’s Gaby Saranouffi presents “Face(s) of Basadi”, an art installation turned screen dance film.

The work explores the important steps that women in Africa take in their cultural or traditional journeys, focusing on various rites of passage as a pillar of identity.

“Face(s) of Basadi”, an art installation turned screen dance film. Picture: Supplied.

Awarding winning Ugandan, Robert Ssempijja, is a contemporary dance artist and dance researcher, and has created a politically intense and beautiful film called “Alienation”.

This dance film takes the viewer on a journey of self-discovery around the decolonial questions around what home is and where we belong.

Finally, Mozambique’s Pak Ndjamena has collaborated with Mozambican photographer and filmmaker Ivan Barros to present “In-Box” - a poetic visual feast.

This short film shows the dancing body as it reflects memories of the past and present in search of human resilience – this dance film is a message of evocation to hope!

“In-Box” - a poetic visual feast. Picture: Supplied

Watch the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience for free from August 24 to September 5 here.

For the full programme click here.

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