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JOMBA YOUNG CHOREOGRAPHERS (article first published : 2005-08-28)

The JOMBA! Young Choreographers Platform sees four young choreographers presenting new cutting edge dance as part of JOMBA! 2005. This year’s participants are Mlekeleli Khuzwayo, Marise Kyd, Sifiso Majola and Caroline van Wyk. Each choreographer was given a small grant to assist in making a new work for this annual contemporary dance festival.

Shopping for Free - what a delightful notion! – by Caroline van Wyk opened in the dark to the sound of much plastic being crushed. In the dimness we make out that they are plastic shopping bags, some being hurled into the audience for good measure! A supermarket trolley bangs and clatters its way onto the stage. Torches are produced which break the darkness and make fascinating patterns on the back wall. A glamorous woman approaches and proceeds to enjoy an ice-cream perched atop a ladder before the other two women adorn her with empty packets and she departs, fulfilled. It’s a light-hearted and self-deprecating piece that drew many smiles.

Mlekeleli Khuzwayo’s Needs presented a far more dramatic and serious outlook. The work sees him shrouded in white fabric performing to text and music by Mzwakhe Mbuli. Amoebic forms and words like “Abortion” and “Death” are thrown onto the back wall as the shrouded figure changes shape like an amoeba. The cold blue lighting state adds a chill to the fatality of the words. A compelling piece well performed by Mlekeleli Khuzwayo.

Another piece that opened in the dark - this time, to the sound of paint from a spray can - was Pull the Switch by Marise Kyd. She describes the work as celebrating the freedom that is movement by looking at the manipulation between music and body to create dance and the interaction with musicians Quincy Fynn, Gareth Gale, Duane Nichols and David Smith certainly gave the work a stimulating immediacy. Marise is always a joy to watch and there were some beautiful moments of reflection including touch lights. Complementing her performance was Thulile Bhengu.

Once beaten, twice shy is Sifiso Majola’s first choreographic work and if its reception from tonight’s audience is anything to go by, he’s on a roller coaster ride to success. Okay, he had a stunning cast performing alongside him with Sifiso Khumalo, Sanele Mzinyane and Sibusiso Ngidi but, nevertheless, the work is tightly structured and well-defined.

Watch these young choreographers! They will go from strength to strength.

Special mention must be made of the excellent lighting for all four pieces, particularly for Once Beaten Twice Shy.

Roll on Jomba 2006! - Caroline Smart




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