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What to expect from the 24th JOMBA! dance experience - in person

Mamela Nyamza. Picture: Supplied

Mamela Nyamza. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 26, 2022

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Hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, the 24th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience will have its first live festival since 2019.

The festival will be taking place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, UKZN, from August 30 to September 11.

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Dance and theatre fans are in for a treat with 13 days of world-class contemporary dance and performances. The artists on the bill are from Mozambique, Switzerland, Reunion Island, India and South Africa.

Artistic director and curator Dr Lliane Loots shared that organisers are excited to be hosting the much-loved festival live and in person.

Loots said: “This year, through the theme ‘the (im)possibility of home’, we have set out to interrogate a series of dance offerings that negotiate heritage, culture, nostalgia, and identity, which explore a sense of belonging and how this persists, changes, and transforms through time – and what a time (both local and global) for this moment!”

Contemporary dancer and choreographer Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe will be honoured as the 2022 JOMBA! Legacy Artist.

Vincent Mantsoe in Koma. Picture: Supplied

“This year marks a 30-year history of Mantsoe’s career as a dancer and choreographer, and we can think of no better way to honour this incredible icon in South Africa’s historical dance trajectory than to celebrate with him,” said Loots.

Mantsoe will be presenting a master class at the festival, and there will be a live performance of his new solo work “KOMA”.

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A screening of his short dance film “CUT” (part 1), which was made during the lockdown and his two-year process (2021 and 2022) of working with Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company and the long journey to making “CUT” (part 2), will premiere at the festival.

South Africa’s doyens of contemporary dance – the controversial and critical dance-makers – Mamela Nyamza and Nelisiwe Xaba feature at the festival. Xaba will open this year’s festival in a collaboration with Swiss dance maker Marie-Caroline Hominal in a work intriguingly and simply titled “Hominal/Xaba”.

Nelisiwe Xaba in collaboration with Swiss dance maker Marie-Caroline Hominal in their work intriguingly and simply titled Hominal/Xaba.

The deeply interrogated and thoughtful Nyamza offers her newest work, “Grounded'', performed with her son Amkele Mandla, in which she offers a look into her South Africa, where democracy superficially seems to be in a working condition but actually has small cracks not easy to see.

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In partnership with the Goethe-Institut South Africa, JOMBA! will host the inimitable Mozambican dance-maker Edna Jaime in her remarkable solo, Um Segundo (One Second).

Fana Tshabalala, the 2019 JOMBA! Mellon Artist in Residence, makes a welcome return with his Broken Borders Arts Project to premiere his latest solo work “Zann”, which he began creating as part of the 2019 residency.

Fana Tshabalala, the 2019 JOMBA! Mellon Artist in Residence. Picture: Supplied

Three new works by Durban choreographers/dancers - Sandile Mkhize, Tegan Peacock, and Pavishen Paideya will premiere at the festival. All three were awarded grants to help push their creation of new local work in the JOMBA! EDGE mentored platform.

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The Jomba! Youth Open Horizons (formerly the Youth Fringe) will feature a host of local dance talent at The Stable Theatre.

The virtual offerings include the JOMBA! African Digital Voices, Open Horizons and an online panel discussion.

The festival closes with a virtual conversation between Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts (Bangalore, India) and artist Simon Senn (Switzerland), looks at the dance work of this amazing centre and the incredible project between Senn and Bharatha Natyam dancer Rohee Oberoi.

There are three open workshops (dancers over 16 only) for dancers and dance-makers, an industry-related session entitled JOMBA! Forging Futures and the much-valued JOMBA! Khuluma online writing residency will feature write-ups, interviews and reviews.

Live performances take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (UKZN), the Stable Theatre (one performance and free), as well as virtual/online (free).

Tickets for Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre performances are R80 full price, R65 – students, scholars and pensioners. Booking is through Computicket.

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