Vuyani Dance Theatre. Picture: Supplied

The South African State Theater relaunches of Dance Umbrella Africa under a new name to Kucheza Afrika Festival.

In a press statement, the State Theater this week made the official announcement to the dance community.

"The South African State Theater wishes to inform the dance community about the name change of the dance festival Dance Umbrella Africa to Kucheza Afrika Festival . 

When we initiated a Dance Festival as part of our programming at the South African State Theatre, the artist has always been uppermost in our thoughts. Our intentions as an institution were and still are, to preserve dance as an art form and to ensure that artists always have a home at the State Theatre," read the statement.

Kucheza (to dance) is a homonymous Swahili verb that aligns and identifies with our vision as an institution. 

"In the past few weeks, the name “Dance Umbrella Africa” has been the source of contention on both private and social platforms, and should we not be focused, the constant mud-slinging may derail us from our course to serve the dance community and our stakeholders. 

We have, after careful consideration, chosen to focus on what we initially and intentionally set out to do for the future of dance at the State Theatre and thus, concluded to continue with the dance festival under a new name and direction being Kucheza Africa Festival.

The new name of the festival marries our aspirations to serve the continent’s and the world’s dance communities as well as a call to action for Africa to converge as one in its diversity of theatre art forms - to dance!"

The Dance Umbrella Africa 2019 featured local and international dancers and choreographers including Lulu Mlangeni, Sonia Radebe and Julia Burnham, Phumlani Nyanga, Dirk Badenhorst, German-Austrian Helge Letonja, Madagascar’s Gaby Saranouffi, and performances from dance companies such as Vuyani Dance Theatre and Moving Into Dance Mophatong.

Kucheza Africa Festival is scheduled to take place from April 2 to April 12. The line-up for Kucheza Africa Festival is yet to be announced.