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DANCE SEMINAR PROJECT (article first published : 2002-06-11)

The Shuttle 02 African Dance Seminar will take place from June 21 - 23 at Moving Into Dance Mophatong, Newtown. The seminar is a follow-up to the Jomba! Shuttle 99 Dance Education Seminar Report. It is just one of 20 projects that form part of Shuttle 02 - A Danish-South African Cultural Exchange.

The impetus for holding such a seminar has grown out of increasing concerns over the dearth of knowledge and written material on traditional South African dance forms. They are the soil that nurtures contemporary South African dance and it is vital to ensure that there are available resources for future generations of dancers and dance practitioners. Documentation has vital historical value as it contributes to our cultural heritage and preserves the forms, while still allowing them to develop.

The aim of the seminar is to focus on three traditional South African dance forms from the Zulu, Tswana and Xhosa cultures. This initial seminar will set in place a framework within which the other forms from the rich South African heritage can be studied in the near future. David Thatanelo April (Director Designate of Moving into Dance Mophatong) is project co-ordinator. April and a core group, together with invited practitioners and academics, will be responsible for the programme of the three day long seminar.

The main purpose of the seminar is to share methodologies, existing documented material, knowledge and skills. What results from this process of collating and compiling of written and visual material will be made accessible to teachers, educators and practitioners. It will eventually contribute to the African dance curriculum and courses at tertiary institutions and national and international organisations, which require resource material.

The long-term goals and visions of the project are to map out a way forward for the study and documentation of traditional dance forms; discuss the creation of an Institute for African Dance which will act as a resource centre, and build up a group of dedicated African dance researchers who will contribute information of national and international interest.

Specialists have been invited from all over South Africa and include John Sithole from the African Cultural Heritage Trust who will be the keynote speaker; Dr Patricia Opondo, Director of the African Music project; Alfred Hinkel, Artistic Director of Jazzart Dance Theatre; Xolani Rani from the UCT Dance Department; Lliane Loots, Artistic Director of the Flatfoot Dance Company; Sifiso Kweyama from Phenduka Dance Theatre; Jerry Pooe, CEO of Eager Artists; Jackie Semela, Soweto Dance Theatre and Sylvia Glasser, Executive and Artistic Director of Moving Into Dance Mophatong.

The funders of Shuttle 02 are the Danish Centre for Culture and Development (DCCD), Danida, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Danish Secretariat for Cultural Relations.

For further information on the seminar contact 011 838-2816 or info@midance.co.za for details.




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