Dancers from the Flatfoot Dance Companys Umlazi project will take part in this years Giyani Lusha in July. Picture: VAL ADAMSON

Despite a dire economic environment for the arts, KZN DanceLink has managed to hang in and survive the ravages, and this year is rearing to go, with a full and varied programme of dance-related activities, all of which hold true to its mission statement of supporting and nurturing KwaZulu-Natal dance of all styles and genres.

KZN DanceLink calls itself “an umbrella body for dance support in KZN”, and true to this fact, runs numerous dance classes in various orphanages around the province. It will be running its annual dance workshop programme in the Durban Children’s Home, Aryan Benevolent Home and God’s Golden Acre.

The programmes are fed and nurtured by some of Durban’s top dance teachers who train and support the young dancers as they prepare themselves for some of the performance platforms also hosted by KZN DanceLink.

The annual showcase for KZN DanceLink is the much-anticipated youth dance programme called Giyani Lusha.

Hosted each year on the Durban beachfront in July, this youth dance programme has become one of the city’s iconic dance happenings and is, in part, due to the incredible enthusiasm among the young dancers who participate. These young dancers come from divergent communities that range from Umlazi to Wentworth, KwaMashu, Newlands East, Clermont and Glenwood.

The dance work is supported by KZN DanceLink in that various dance programmes run in the children’s homes feature very strongly in Giyani Lusha, but so, too, the invitation to all member youth dance groups that work in KZN.

This year’s 2013 Giyani Lusha will take place on Sunday, July 28, and will feature a full day when Durban’s beachfront becomes a dance paradise of site reactive dance work that finally culminates in the youth performance and the special guest performances by, among others, Flatfoot Dance Company, Nateshwar Dance Company, Mhayisa Productions and Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre.

This year’s Giyani Lusha also has the much-needed support of eThekwini’s department of arts and living heritage.

An event such as this, which has put Durban on the youth dance map in South Africa, is finally being recognised as a key cultural event for the Durban metro, and so this partnership is important not just for the financial boost that it offers, but for a city’s cultural arts desk to be sitting up and taking notice of events that celebrate our harbour-facing city.

Also offering support for this event and the work of KZN DanceLink generally, are the National Arts Council of SA and the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

Finally, KZN DanceLink will play host to the UK’s Nina Atkinson during June and July.

She is the artistic director of Loop Dance Company and works in the dance department of Roehampton University. Her expertise is very much in the areas of dance education and youth dance.

Under the auspices of KZN DanceLink she will be running guest classes and workshops for various dance groups and will also run a short course for dance teachers and educators, with the aim of opening up debate around best practice for dance teaching.

If you are interested in finding out how you can participate, e-mail KZN DanceLink’s director, Lynn Maree, at [email protected]

This would also be a good time to sign up and become a supportive member of KZN DanceLink and become part of an incredible provincial dance support network that is unprecedented in South Africa.