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HEAD FIRST (article first published : 2003-07-22)

One of Durban’s newest and most innovative dance companies, Phenduka Dance Theatre, is proud to present their inaugural season Head First at the Playhouse Complex’s Loft Theatre from July 29 to August 3.

This dynamic dance programme of five short works showcases award winning choreography by both Sifiso Kweyama and Sbonakaliso Ndaba. Head First will give Durban audiences the opportunity to see Ndaba’s work Gathering, commissioned by DaimlerChrysler as part of her prize for winning the prestigious DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Choreography, 2003.

Gathering is a brooding dance work that explores cultural and social inheritance in the context of historic and contemporary South Africa; where ancestors speak and divine the lessons from the past as a way to move forward. It is a soul-gripping work that uses voice, rhythm and the company of highly-skilled Phenduka dancers to guide audiences on a journey about remembering their heritage.

This work has defined Sbonakaliso Ndaba as one of the key young dynamic choreographers in South Africa in the way in which she is creating an African contemporary dance language. Her work takes stories and ideas from her own history as a black South African woman, and merges them with the technically outstanding contemporary dance language for which she and Phenduka are known.

Other works on the programme offer an exciting mix of lyrical contemporary dance from Sifiso Kweyama’s beautiful and delicately crafted FNB VITA nominated Recognition – An Everywoman’s story through to the exhilarating rhythms of gumboots. There is also the comical work Whathefaa…!, an absurd and witty look at how people exert their rights to a given space – a park bench, a toilet, a pew or a stand.

As an African contemporary company, Phenduka Dance Theatre was formed in March 2001 with the objective of developing a professional company from the wealth of dance talent within KZN. The company draws a great deal of its inspiration from traditional African culture, which sits alongside its very strong contemporary technique dance base to create a new and innovative South African dance language. Durban audiences now have the opportunity to see their first full-length season.

Phenduka is a dance force to be embraced and supported for the sheer dancing pleasure of seeing KZN dancing souls make new language and dance with a rhythm that celebrates the old and the new!

Head First runs in the Playhouse Loft from July 29 to August 3. Book through Computicket. More information from Ondine Bello on 083 686 4777 or e-mail: phenduka@email.com




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