The Dance Umbrella festival, a showcase of new contemporary dance and choreography from both local and international artists at venues across the city, is celebrating its 28th year in 2016 with principal funding from the Department of Arts & Culture and the Gauteng Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture.
Dance Umbrella 2016 opens on February 25 at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre and will be running until March 6.
The first week kicks off at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre in Rossmore with a work choreographed by Jessica Nupen, assisted by Sunnyboy Motau, called ‘Rebellion and Johannesburg’ on Thursday and Friday, February 25 and 26, at 7.30pm.
Created by the Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) company, ‘Rebellion and Johannesburg’ is a modernised interpretation of the classic Shakespearean story ‘Romeo and Juliet’, set on a backdrop of a transforming street sub-culture in Johannesburg.
With an original score by Spoek Mathambo, costume and set design by Anmari Honiball and film projection by Ed Blignaut, the piece examines the complexities of a generation of young South Africans faced with the challenges of a transforming country. ‘Rebellion and Johannesburg’ recently premiered in Germany. (It is presented at the Dance Umbrella with the support of Lufthansa.)
‘The Last Attitude’ by Nelisiwe Xaba and Mamela Nyamza premiered last year at the National Arts Festival, and is a work that interrogates the role of the politics of the ancient art form of ballet. Focusing specifically on the male ballet principal dancer, it reflects on the interaction between him and the ballerina and the progression that has been made from being merely the porter to lift the dancer to centre stage. It will be presented at The Dance Factory (situated on Helen Joseph Street in Jozi) on Saturday, February 27, at 7.30pm and Sunday, February 28, at 2.30pm.
A Double bill at the Soweto Theatre this Saturday at 2.30pm and Sunday at 10am includes two new works: ‘Interim’, by Thami Majela and Swiss choreographer Margarita Kennedy, is a dance piece that looks at the connections found in movement, memory and sensory perceptions. ‘Interim’ is presented with assistance from Pro Helvetia and Atelier Mondial. The second work of the Double bill is ‘Lingering’, a collaboration between Sonia Radebe and Teresa Mojela, which explores the physicality of thought and how the thought evolves when it lingers. (This work is presented with assistance from the National Arts Council and it was created in residency at the Dance Space.)
Portuguese choreographer Nelia Pinheiro will present ‘Terra Chã’ at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 1 and 2, at 8.15pm. This fusion of dance and music reflects on sonnets by Florabela Espanca which speak to beauty and the soul of Alentejano, extremes and their limits, love and disaffection. (‘Terra Chã’ is presented with support from Camoes-Instituto Da Cooperacao E Da Lingua and the Embassy of Portugal to South Africa.)
‘Ketima’ by Gregory Maqoma is a male and female quartet composed of members of the Vuyani Dance Company. ‘Ketima’ examines phases of development from crawling through toddling to the time when thoughts, feelings and actions get hooked to the mainstream of life and can be seen at the Market Theatre on Wednesday and Thursday, March 2 and 3, at 8.15pm.
French choreographer Hamid Ben Mahi from Hors Serie Company created ‘Toyi Toyi’, a protest dance that comes from activism found mainly in the streets. Featuring four performers, ‘Toyi Toyi’ uses both dance and the spoken word to recount the life story of three South African dancers from Katlehong who share their encounters with a French dancer. This work is presented with support from the French Institut of South Africa at the Dance Factory on Thursday and Friday, March 3 and 4, at 7pm.
Tickets from R80 to R150 are available from Computicket and for performances at the Soweto Theatre, by calling 0861 670 670, or at www.webtickets.co.za.
For the full 2016 programme, visit www.danceforumsouthafrica.co.za.