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NAF FRINGE DANCE (article first published : 2006-06-17)

Pantsula, hip-hop, gumboot, bolero, kofifi, tap, tango, and acrobatics - from modern contemporary to traditional African and classical ballet - all await at the 2006 National Arts Festival Fringe taking place in Grahamstown from June 29 to July 8.

The Remix Dance Company presents To Pieces, a double-bill of evocative contemporary dance performed to Neo Muyanga's original scores:I can't give you anything but love, choreographed by Ina Wichterich, combines heart, humour and virtuosity in a piece about love and all its fabulous misinterpretations; and Second Time Broken crosses the divide between visual art and dance through some unforgettable dance choreography by Adam Benjamin who intertwines dance and life with the fragility and strength of the porcelain vessels created by Katherine Glenday - "fragmenting the shell and piecing together the whole".

The Inzalo Dance Company's Dancing Ahead of Time is a tribute to the nimble-footed pantsula dancers of the 80s whose fast-paced, break-dance style of storytelling is superbly resurrected by Moeketsi Koena, Gaby Souranouffi and Mandla Bebeza.

In a collision of dance styles the La Destino Spanish School's passionate castanet-clapping and twirling is met head-on by the energetic modern hip-hop style of the Full-out Dance Academy in Collaboration: Meaning joining of two styles, an exhilarating, fun and up-tempo piece that'll have audiences olé-ing for more! Corazon Latino is a music theatre show with a live band and a host of professional dancers. Headed by Chilean-born Julio Acevedo this hot-blooded trip through South America's music and dance culture was nominated for the Fleur du Cap Best Performance of the Year Award.

The Cape Academy of Performing Arts returns to Grahamstown with highlights from their recent sell-out show, Vanity Faire; and dancers from the National School of the Arts pull out all the stops in their four-piece production Dance Spectrum that moves between classical ballet, jazz-funk and contemporary dance styles. The East London Guild Theatre presentation Fusing Lines questions the boundaries between artistic genres in five works created by its resident choreographers, Thembinkosi Puwane and Tracy-Leigh Lawson; and in a chronicle of the jazz culture hatched in the '50s, newcomers to the Fringe, Nakedi & Associates present Siyavaya - an "absolute must for jazz and dance-lovers".

Two companies from beyond South Africa’s borders present works specific to their regions: Ethiopia's Fikretibeb Art Centre brings the flavour of Northern Ethiopia's dance and music culture to the Eastern Cape in Gaila, Ashenda, Kunene, Awrs; and in Mo(ve)ment visual artist, Tali Farchi teams up with dancer Benno Hübner (both from Holland) in a unique multi-media encounter where "she colours his dance, [and] he moves her painting". Taking this performance piece one step further, BNO Productions will present four additional performances in collaboration with South African musicians (Mo(ve)ment Goes African) including Michael Blake (piano) Ha!man (cello), Lucas Niggli (drums), and Rolando Lamusseen (djembe, mbira).

Staying with the concept of culture-sharing the Limpopo Province's Seweweledi will be a stunning display of the costumes, songs, rituals and dances specific to the Ndebele, Tsawna and Sepedi tribes; and the Kasi Ballet Theatre's Work in Progress looks to the wealth of kinetic culture in the townships as they work toward fusing classical choreography with the raw, unpretentious energy of street dancing.

The Gauteng Department of Arts and Culture proudly presents the winners of the 2006 Gauteng FNB Dance Umbrella Pick of the Stepping Stones Award - a double-bill from two young companies - the Thabisong Youth Club and the Junior Company of Moving into Dance Mophotong - showcasing emergent talent. The senior Moving into Dance Mophotong (MIDM) company presents two works, Blankets of Shame and Catching the Bird, choreographed by Sylvia Glasser (South Africa) and Marie Brolin-Tani (Sweden) respectively. Both choreographers examine issues of stigma, stereotyping and alienation in these challenging pieces.

There's still plenty more on the dance programme so don't miss out - pick up a free copy of the Booking Kit at a Standard Bank branch or Computicket outlet or visit www.nafest.co.za. Book at Computicket.

This spread of entertainment is presented by The Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, SABC and the National Arts Council. Business & Arts South Africa (BASA) has made a special grant available to the National Arts Festival this year with the major portion going to the artists on the Festival fringe. The rest of the donation goes to the Cue newspaper, the Youth Audience Development Project and the Art-Walk Meander Map.




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