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Dance Umbrella takes off

Lwandile Fikeni
February24/ 2017

 

DeApartHate_photo Oscar oRyan_
ON STAGE: Mamela Nyamza presents her latest piece De-Apart-Hate at this year’s Dance Umbrella photo: Supplied

The 29th edition of the annual Dance Umbrella festival has launched at the Wits Theatre Complex and will run until Sunday, March 5.

The festival is showcasing over 50 new works, 13 commissioned works, six Johannesburg South African premieres and a Master Class programme conducted by prominent choreographers.

“It’s hard to say which shows visitors should see,” said Artistic Director Georgina Thomson about the shows to be presented during the 10 day festival.

“I think people should just have an adventure and see what they fancy,” she said. And there is quite a lot to fancy in this year’s festival.

On Friday, February 24 and Saturday 25 at 19:00, Moeketsi Koena and Gaby Saranouffi present Corps at the Wits Downstairs Theatre. Corps explores the transporting links that connect the real and the unreal through photography and dance and creates a link between today’s world and the past through the ancestral history of South Africa, Madagascar and France.

At the Wits Amphitheatre, on the same days, but at 21:00, Cape Town-born director, choreographer and activist, Mamela Nyamza, presents her acclaimed De-Apart-Hate The work deals with the struggles of post-apartheid South Africa as a nation, but doesn’t dwell on race.

Also worth looking out for is choreographer Rudi van der Merwe’s installation work, Trophée, on Saturday and Sunday, February 25 and 26 at 15:00 at the National School of the Arts (NSA) in Braamfontein. This show is an outdoor performance with emphasis on visual and land art. The title alludes to references about the submission of women – as trophy wives – and the submission of nature –hunting trophies – as part of tools of war throughout history.

On Tuesday, February 28 and Wednesday, March 1 the Wits Theatre will showcase a triple bill featuring the work of Oscar Buthelezi, Sonny Boy Motau and Lulu Mlangeni. Buthelezi’s Stuck Souls reflects on the world today being lost in waste and it asks the question: “How do we stop this?” Motau’s I am Not speaks to self-discovery and venturing into new and unknown spaces within ourselves: both body and mind. Vuyani Dance Theatre’s Lulu Mlangeni will premiere her new work, Shift.

A series of master classes will take place from Saturday, February 25 until March 4 at the Dance Space in Newtown.

The festival closes on March 5 at 14:30 at the Wits Theatre, with Cape Town choreographer Kirvan Fortuin’s When they Leave, a technical and high-pitched show that explores the narrative of race between white and coloured people.

Tickets range from R20 to R120 and are available at www.computicket.com. For the full Dance Umbrella 2017 programme, updates on the Master Classes and Face to Face interviews please visit www.danceforumsouthafrica.co.za.

Lwandile Fikeni