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UCT SCHOOL OF DANCE CONFERENCE (article first published : 2008-06-30)

The University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Humanities is to present the Confluences 5 Conference from July 16 to 19 titled High Culture, Mass Culture, Urban Culture – Whose Dance? which deals with Contemporary Theatre Dance and the engagement with Urban Culture.

In a social and political climate of globalisation and the seemingly first world ease and flow of knowledge, developing countries often ‘buy’ into the contemporary social and artistic trends of other countries. This is evident in the growth of hip-hop culture and dance (for example) around the world. In questioning the value of contemporary dance theatre engaging forms of urban culture, this conference aims to open up for discussion, the relationship between popular culture, ‘’high art’’, and all the myriad categories/groupings in between and the manner in which they interface with the creative and educational desire to journey into ‘new territory’.

Focus will be placed on popular culture and its engagement with contemporary theatre dance as well as Hip-Hop and its growth into theatre dance, taking in black urban dance in South Africa (kwasa-kwasa, pantsula, kwaito … ) and its development and growth into theatre dance. There will be discussion on the relationship of high art/dance with urban culture and urban dance forms as well as the role of the media in promoting, defining, and valuing urban cultural practice/dance.

Other issues include globalisation and the performative relationship between Global perspectives and local objectives as well as gender and politics of urban dance culture.

The aim is to open up political and social discussion on urban dance and its relationship to contemporary Urban culture as well as to expose all participants to the possibilities for choreography and dance education of using urban cultural dance and practice. Under discussion will be political social and artistic interrogation into “fusion” as a creative practice. The conference will also look into the possibility of further developing innovative Contemporary choreography informed by urban culture.

Interesting and inspiring submissions for paper and workshops have been received not only from South Africans in the dance and music community, but also from the international dance community including Canada, Portugal, Brazil, Norway, Nigeria and Germany. Together with the presentations by our keynoters, the proposals indicate a full three days of stimulating debate and discussion.

Five keynote speakers have been invited: Professor Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Professor Emerita from Temple University, Philadelphia, a prolific writer and performer whose specific field focuses on post-identitarian cultural issues, race theory and the politics of performance.

Nita Liem Director of the Don’t Hit Mama Hip Hop dance company and Hip Hop School in Amsterdam whose expressive choreography and articulate verbalisation of the Hip Hop culture make her a leader in the field.

Also from Holland comes Daniel Renner, lecturer at the ArtEZ Academy in Arnhem and the Rotterdam Academy. Daniel teaches Round Corner Technique, a dance vocabulary, which uses the elements of modern dance (Limón) and blends them with specific elements of street dance and hip hop. The power of cultural diversity within the expressive movement exploration, leads to a fusion of styles, technique, tradition and instincts of human motion.

The third keynoter from Holland is Joan van der Mast, lecturer at the Rotterdam Academy where she teaches Modern dance as a mix of Laban and Limon, with influences of Release technique, Power yoga, Capoeira and Bartenieff Fundamentals as well as improvisation and composition, the didactics of Modern (contemporary dance) & Youth Dance and Laban Movement Analysis.

From Cape Town comes Emile Jansen aka Emile YX?, B-boy War-lock or A-free-Can I, Emile is often considered to be one of the Godfathers of South African Hip Hop and continues to be an active B-boy, Mc, Graffiti artist and hip hop activist. In 1990, he published the first edition of Da Juice Hip Hop Magazine. He has created numerous hip hop events and projects and has sent more than 70 young dancers to “Battle of the Year”, World B-boy/Breakdance championships held in Germany. Emile currently manages Black Noise.

More information at www.uct.ac.za and follow links to School of Dance and Confluences 5. Also contact Sharon at sharon.friedman@uct.ac.za




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