Choreographer Robyn Orlin returns to JOMBA! as their legacy artist

Robyn Orlin. Picture: Supplied

Robyn Orlin. Picture: Supplied

Published May 20, 2024


Controversial and provocative choreographer, Robyn Orlin, will return to JOMBA! 2024.

The art and dance doyen will be honoured as this year’s JOMBA! 2024 legacy artist, and her production, “we wear our wheels with pride and slap your streets with colour… we said ‘bonjour’ to satan in 1820…”, will be staged in September.

The award-winning South African dance-maker’s piece pays homage to the rickshaw drivers of SA’s past.

The JOMBA! festival takes place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban from August 27 to September 8, with a satellite festival at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg from September 11 to 14.

Originally created in 2021, Orlin’s “we wear our wheels…” is a collaboration with Johannesburg based dance company, Moving into Dance.

Lliane Loots, curator and artistic director of the festival since its inception, said: “The JOMBA! festival’s 2024 overall curatorial theme and provocation is ‘the memory of home’ and we can think of no South African artist better suited to unpack both the simplicity and complexity of this in her work.

“Memories are about history, belonging, sometimes suffocating nostalgia, and maybe also about charting new futures… Robyn’s work is all of this and more.

“Orlin’s work has not been performed in South Africa for many years, and so it is with great thanks for the support from IFAS (Paris) and IFAS (Johannesburg), that JOMBA! welcomes her back to South Africa as our 2024 JOMBA! Legacy artist.”

Robyn Orlin.

Orlin continues to view contemporary dance as a form of eclecticism in which she significantly references her own experiences with ballet and modern dance, as well as her passion for movies.

Over the years, her productions have shifted boundaries, often causing chaos.

Her award-winning dance piece, “Daddy, I have seen this piece six times before and I still don’t know why they’re hurting each other”, which mocks the difficulties and shortcomings of the young rainbow nation, but also classical ballet as a trajectory of discrimination, enabled her to tour Europe and brought her international recognition.

Over the years, she has gone on to create a film, “Hidden Beauties, Dirty Stories”, an opera, Handel’s “L’Allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato”, and a theatre production, “Les Bonnes”.

Orlin was named a Knight of the National Order of Merit in 2009 and a Knight of Arts and Letters in 2015.

She continues to create work in South Africa.