She told those attending the festival launch at the State Theatre yesterday that the public would not only see conventional dance, but experience diversity.
“You are going to see works that are uncomfortable for the audiences, so be prepared as we are figuring the dance. Be prepared to walk out, be shocked and confused, because it is art and there is no wrong or right in art,” she said.
Themed Figure-ring the State of Dance in Africa, Nyamza said this year’s festival would feature new moves and tap into new spaces.”
She said: “Most dance moves I see young people doing were done by us back in the days. When I saw that, I realised that we need to do more in the arts industry. We need to figure out our body, then explore, make mistakes and experiment, hence the theme Figure-ring.”
The programme consists of 54 works by over 100 artists from all provinces. International artists come from Mali, Mozambique, Madagascar, the US, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland.
The festival boasts all dance genres, from authentic Pantsula to classical, contemporary, ballet, dance theatre and performance art.
Sast artistic director Aubrey Sekhabi said that when the State Theatre decided to provide a home for Dance Umbrella Africa, they did not think they would be dealing with 54 works: “We are taking baby-steps to fortify this platform which is important for dance in SA and in the continent.”
The festival will run from March 31 to April 7.
Dance Umbrella celebrated its 30th edition last year, but took a bow, owing to funding battles in March.
However, the State Theatre came to the rescue by reviving and re-launching it.
Over the past 30 years, Dance Umbrella has provided young, innovative and contemporary dancers with a platform to present their work and a critical opportunity to launch their professional careers.
Nyamza said the new revived concept of the festival deliberately and unapologetically invited the youth and those artists still to be discovered as the majority participants of the re-launch.
“Dance Umbrella Africa has been resuscitated, revived and revamped by Sast to ensure that such artistic programmes benefit the youth - especially for their creative growth and education, and for the related spin-off of economic benefits for the nation and the continent.”
Nyamza said the programme was all about the new generation, creating new names, and city universities - Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria - had also partnered in the festival.
Entry prices vary from R80 to R120 and tickets are available at Webticket.