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NAF DANCE PROGRAMME (article first published : 2004-04-6)

The milestone 2004 National Arts Festival opens in Grahamstown on July 1 with an extensive line-up of South African and international events capturing the spirit of the moment for a broad spectrum of audiences. The programme was introduced at a series of media briefings round the country this week and Festival Committee chair Mannie Manim was quoted saying "it is appropriate that the Festival’s 30th birthday should coincide with South Africa’s tenth year of democracy – a social miracle in which the arts played a central role".

A number of the main events from the Rhodes University Centenary celebrations have been timed to coincide with the 2004 National Arts Festival, making Grahamstown the place to be in the first week of July for everyone who is truly proudly South African.

Two foreign companies feature on the dance programme. Pride of the Netherlands, home of great European dance, Introdans presents Emotions, a programme of five works by choreographers of different nationalities who combine classical lyricism with contemporary moves. Breezing in over the Indian Ocean, Rèunion’s Pascal Montrouge Company brings a package of fresh, light-hearted pieces under the title L’Histoire des Enfants des Voisins d’ ā Côté (The Story of the Nextdoor Neighbours' Children).

The classical ballet for Festival 2004 is Giselle presented by The South African Ballet Theatre Company with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. In high Romantic style, it tells of murderous jealousy and a young heroine who makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the perfidious man she loves.

The contemporary dance component is headed by Young Artist Award Winner Portia Mashigo with a virtuoso performance highlighting her prowess as a dancer and choreographer. 2002 Young Artist for dance, Gregory Maqoma of Vuyani Dance Theatre, is back with Ketima, a dynamic discourse on the way we humans race into the unpredictable.

An important page in South Africa’s dance history is dramatised in another Maqoma production: Sylver Synergy with Moving into Dance Mophatong revisiting 10 seminal works by Sylvia Glasser as a tribute to her 40 years of cultural activism. Gary Gordon’s First Physical Theatre Company and PJ Sabbagha’s Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative both stage exciting physical theatre and mixed media events. Sabbagha’s There’s No Room In This Bed played to acclaim at the Dance Factory last year.

Continuing a popular Festival tradition, The Eastern Cape Cultural Ensemble presents a feast of sound, colour and dance from different traditions.

Booking kits will be available at the beginning of April in time and bookings open on May 10. Further information on the website or phone 046 603 1121. The festival is proudly presented by the Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, SABC and the National Arts Council.




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