‘Body Moves 2023’: Celebrating dance for different bodies

Body Moves International Inclusive Dance Festival. Picture: File

Body Moves International Inclusive Dance Festival. Picture: File

Published Nov 14, 2023


The “Body Moves International Inclusive Dance Festival” makes a triumphant return after the explosive success of its first year.

This festival, which supports dancers with disabilities as well as those without, will take place from November 20-26 at the Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni.

Caryn Green of Sibikwa Arts Centre talks about the festival’s significance after its success in an interview with “The Star”.

“This is the second year that we are running the festival; last year was the launch. It really is a platform for different types of bodies to be in the same professional space. So it is a dance festival, and we have dancers who are coming from Europe and Africa, some with disabilities and some without disabilities. And just celebrating this integrated space. I think we are at the start of the advocacy around the mainstreaming of disabilities,” said Green.

“I hope we get to a point where we don’t have to call it an ‘inclusive festival’, because people with differences should be included naturally.”

Green also highlights the response received since the inaugural affair and how heart-warming it has been, not only for dancers but for attendees, who got to anticipate the celebration of dance in its inclusive and purest form.

She said those who attend are not only watching performances; they are also supporting artists, contributing to the greater good, and becoming a part of a growing community.

In the context of Disability Awareness Month, the festival promises an unmatched selection of workshops led by renowned local and international facilitators, a live-streamed conversation, and stunning afternoon performances.

“Body Moves” picks up the pace once more to highlight cross-cultural interactions and teamwork. The festival embodies the spirit of unity and diversity, with participating companies coming from regions of South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar, Ireland and Flanders.

Highlights include:

• Workshops: From a sign workshop with talented deaf dancer, Andile Vellem of Unmute, to Ondiege Mathew’s exploration of choreography through improvisation, Fanny Vandesande’s deep dive into the lived experiences of people with disabilities, a satellite workshop at Moving Into Dance in Newtown, and more.

• Performances: Featuring works such as “Chosen”, about the plight of a village through the eyes of a visually impaired dancer; and “TWOTFAM”, a thought-provoking piece that brings to the forefront the overlooked challenges faced by individuals with disabilities.

• Live-Streamed Discussion: To be hosted in partnership with ADDN at Sibikwa and on the Sibikwa Arts Centre Facebook page at 6pm on November 23, it promises engaging conversations inspired by the impactful short films made by panellists Nadine McKenzie (SA), Adriaan Luteijn (Netherlands) and Joseph Tebandeke (Uganda).

Moving away from the hustle of town yet not too far from the comforts of home, Sibikwa offers a perfect locale for audiences.

Supported by the Government of Flanders, Embassy of Ireland, Department of Sport, Arts & Culture, Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture & Recreation, and Federation of Gauteng Community Arts, the festival is more than just an event; it’s a celebration of local and international talent, a nod to cultural vibrancy, and a testament to the belief that arts and dance know no bounds.

The Star

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