At a time in South Africa, where women are under siege, the performers of Jazzart Dance are using the power of dance to tell women’s stories. It is a celebration of the role that women play in society, but now, more than any other time, it is a cry of outrage against the total onslaught on the lives of women in our society today.
As South Africans, we are engaged in dialogue in various forms. Politicians are calling for special task forces, civil society is mobilising, NGOs are expanding their footprints for a bigger reach in vulnerable communities and families are mourning the loss of loved ones, in particular the loss of the girl child.
June is Youth Month and the young performers at Jazzart Dance Theatre are dedicating this month to join the South African conversation in saying that the abuse has to stop. With their production entitled ‘Our Women’ they will attempt to take the audience through the many journeys a woman walks in life, as a stark reminder of how much we need strong women and how much we owe to women as a society at large. “As artists, we are hell-bent on arresting this trend of abuse and total disregard for the lives of our women, using the medium of dance to communicate our message,” says Sifiso Kweyama, Artistic Director at Jazzart Dance Theatre.
The production is on stage for two days only, on June 23 and 24, at Artscape Theatre Centre. “Through weaving the different stories of women’s joy, tears, frustrations, hopes and fears, the pieces will resonate with young people honouring their mothers, sisters, grandmothers and the strong women in the community who touched their lives in one way or another. They resonate equally well with older people who will remember some of the challenges once faced by women, at a time when the liberation of women was a pipedream. While much has changed in a post-apartheid South Africa, the struggle remains real in many other ways. Particularly today, when women have to fight for the right to safety,” concludes Kweyama.
The cast is currently in their second year of training at Jazzart Dance Theatre, as part of a three-year artistic development programme. They hail from marginalised communities across the Western Cape and have all faced obstacles and challenges in their quest to get into the programme. However, diverse as they may be, they are “united by their incredible talent and commitment as budding artists and their unique styles come through in this expertly choreographed production of contemporary, gumboots and hip hop dance genres.”
* ‘Our Women’ will be presented in the Artscape Theatre on Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24, at 7.30pm, with a matinee performance on the Saturday at 3pm.
Tickets cost R60 and R50 for students and pensioners. Block bookings of ten or more cost R45. Bookings can be made at Computicket.