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INVITATION FROM JAY PATHER (article first published : 2005-06-13)

Jay Pather, award-winning and well-known choreographer and artistic director of Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre, is looking for young choreographers and artists who would like to be part of a collaborative workshop and guided process. He will be working on a project with young artists towards creating a performance item titled PARADISE IN and OUT to be presented at the NSA gallery as part of the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival.

“The notion of paradise is elusive yet quite central to our lives,” says Jay. “Our attempts at defining, understanding and no doubt arriving at some form of Paradise go back to the beginning of Time in all cultures. Forever out of our grasp, yet doggedly yearned for, poets and artists have often sought to conjure through metaphor, colour and image some kind of essence of Paradise.

“In a contemporary world, notions of what Paradise might be on earth or elsewhere differ sharply. It is nevertheless a quest that does inform the purpose of many lives and is yearned for, whatever the imagined incarnation, whether an actual physical place or a state of mind. The attraction to and perpetual quest for this blinding light is not without paradox. With paradise comes sacrifice, a beginning that implies an end, an entrance only as a result of an exit.

“The very idea of Paradise is no less fascinating in a post modern, post apartheid South Africa. One may continue to be fed with the somewhat uncomfortable chocolate box pictures of happy skies, happy mountains, happy babbling brooks, happy everything. But of course on closer inspection, that ideal is of not much help in a highly complex society struggling to shed off its hellish past and dealing with the challenges of a diverse present. It is a society that may be fragmented and not always plugged in to each other, but which nevertheless contains enduring moments of intersection, moments of beauty and extreme power when the mysteries of longing, comfort and bliss reveal themselves with a vulnerability and a humanity that is universal.”

Provocative and thought-provoking, whimsical and portentous, PARADISE IN and OUT will combine a range of visual and performance languages: dance, text, projections, music and architecture, influenced by several cultures, African, European and Indian, using both traditional ritual as well as street-sussed contemporary dance.

A meeting of all interested candidates including a selection process will take place on June 18 at 14h00 at Siwela Sonke Studios, 103 Salbany, 50 Albany Grove, Durban. The project is open to choreographers, video artists, any fine artist, architects, photographers and fashion designers. Participants must be interested in performance; mixed media; new media, and collaboration.

The four-phase process includes workshops, mainly in principles of choreography with several other experiences in related and integrated arts; submission of proposals for works and collaborations; individual rehearsals, and Technical and Dress Rehearsals and Performance. The project starts on July 2 and will be completed on August 25.

For more information and an application form, contact Jay Pather on email: jaypath@mweb.co.za




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