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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

IMBUMBA 2001 (article first published : 2001-02-4)

Created in 1996 as a much-needed umbrella body for all forms of dance in this province, KZN Dance Link produced an impressive programme of dance representing all manner of styles and techniques in Imbumba 2001.

Involving something like 200 performers, this is the second showcase of the work of KZN Dance Link members covering a multitude of dance disciplines. A good indication of the popularity of this programme was that the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre foyer was packed with people hoping for tickets before the show started. This poses the question as to whether the event could run over two days next year.

The programme opened with Invocatory Item choreographed by Eric Shabalala and Vasugi Singh. In a few short minutes, a group of dancers representative of each of the dance groups appearing in Imbumba 2001 presented a skilfully created piece that included anything from pliés (balletic bends) and Celtic kicks to mudrhas or adhavu (classical Indian hand and foot movements) and ingamu dance.

Imbumba 2001 is notable for a number of works by the children of God’s Golden Acre: Khayelihle which forms part of KZN Dance Link’s rural outreach programme in the Cato Ridge area for children affected by HIV/AIDS. These were Kusekhaya and Asimbonanga, the latter choreographed by Suria Govender and involving members of the Surialanga Dance Company showing the youngsters’ talents to best advantage

Two of Durban’s top dance companies - Fantastic Flying Fish Dance Company and Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre – offered the finest items on the programme. FFFDC David Gouldie’s Gaudete Too included a fine duo by Cheryl Burger and Vusi Thabethe. Siwela Sonke’s Jay Pather presented the tempestuous Rescue Remedy dramatically performed by Ntombi Gasa and Quinton Ribbonaar.

Other notable items were Jugalbandi with Ruendhrie Pather and Manesh Maharaj whose training in India is clearly evident in his work; the highly-disciplined Ukuthula by Thokozani Makhoba; Terence Mfeka and Zandile Gumede’s rumba and jive; Viabhav Joshi’s elegant Mangalam, and After Hours Theatre Company’s up-beat Shut up and Dance

Eric Shabalala’s Earth, Wind, Fire created from his schools workshop programme and Mary Ann Salvage’s Mirror Images both proved that there’s a whole bunch of dance talent on the way up.

The only dance group that failed to reach its potential was Hlanganani Traditional Orchestra’s Ngabayini Na, a piece that was untidy and lacked co-ordination. Other general quibbles were dancers who lacked a stage presence and focus so that while bodies were actively engaged in the dance, eyes tended to wander and facial expressions gave nothing.

All in all, a great programme. Seeing what on offer this year, I can’t wait for Imbumba 2002!




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