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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

UKUKHULA KOMDANSO 2008 (article first published : 2008-06-21)

This year’s Jomba! festival takes an exciting turn. In a focused one week festival from June 24 to 29, the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) is to present a series of local, national and international dance theatre performances, dance workshops and conferences that explore the growing of young dancers and dance audiences. Aptly named Ukukhula Komdanso, the festival takes place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre and other venues and is about offering a professional dance platform that nurtures and celebrates youth dance and youth culture.

To this end, five of Durban’s celebrated and up-and coming choreographers: Lliane Loots, Varsha Sharma, Musa Hlatshwayo, Vusi Makanya and Sifiso Khumalo have been commissioned by the CCA to premiere new work for the opening night of the festival that uses dancers all under 20 years old. Focusing on creating a professional platform for these young dancers, and asking them to ‘step up’ to the choreographic expectations of a professional environment, these new dance works should prove electrifying.

Special guests to the festival include the internationally-renowned Johannesburg-based Moving Into Dance Moipatong. Travelling to this year’s festival, MIDM will present three works which have been carefully selected with a youth dance audience in mind as this is a company that has built its reputation on its schools and community dance development work. While the focus is on developing a youth audience, MIDM’s performances at the festival will appeal to an adult audience as well, featuring new choreographic works by the multi-award winning Gregory Maqoma and, founder of MIDM, Sylvia Glasser.

The festival is also facilitating a collaboration between Dutch based choreographer Daniel Renner and Durban’s much-loved Flatfoot Dance Company. Renner, a B-Boy and Hip Hop dancer with contemporary dance training also in the mix, journeys to Durban to collaborate with the six resident Flatfoot dancers and special guest B-Boyz from Durban, Chaise, Bizzo and Ozone. This work is the culminating finale of the festival on June 29.

As in past years, the festival presents open dance platforms which give space to new choreographers who want to try out their work on a professional platform. Always an evening of surprise and delight, the Fringe Programme takes place on June 26. Alongside this, the Youth Fringe on June 28 at 14h00 at the Dorothy Nyembe Hall in Cato Manor (free to all!) will play host to new dance works by some of Durban’s ever-growing and superb youth dance development projects and programmes. This always proves to be an enchanting afternoon that offers a space for the dancers of our future to strut their stuff.

On a more educational note and of value to all dance teachers (no matter what style of dance you teach), community dance facilitators, choreographers and dancers themselves, is the June 29 one day conference.

Hosted at the CCA’s new home on UKZN Howard College Campus, this mini-conference is titled, “Thinking about youth dance and dance education: lessons in ways forward”, and features the Dutch dance company, INTRODANS’s educational expert, Adriaan Luteijn as the key-note speaker. Also on the panel will be Gregory Maqoma and David April from Moving Into Dance Moipatong, Lliane Loots from Flatfoot Dance Company and Patricia Opondo who runs the African Music and Dance Programme on UKZN campus. The conference runs from 09h00 until 14h30 and registration is only R30. Places are limited so booking is essential. Call 031260 3118 to secure your place at the conference. The conference is aimed at promoting good teaching practice across various styles of dance and should be a wonderful day to meet and share with fellow dance educators.

Finally, for those itching to get their feet dancing, the festival will host a master class with Gregory Maqoma on June 28 from 09h00 to 11h00. This class is for adult dancers (over 16 years old). Booking is essential as places are limited. Call 031 260 3118 to secure your place.

Performances are at 19h30 each evening. Tickets R35 (R25 scholars and students). Bookings can be made through Computicket.

Supported by funding partners HIVOS, Stichting Doen and Royal Netherlands Embassy, The CCA and Jomba! continue to facilitate the development of young dancers, choreographers and dance audiences in South Africa, and the Ukukula Komdanso festival is a celebratory event that offers a varied and exciting programme for all dance enthusiasts. For more information contact 031 260 2506 or visit www.cca.ukzn.ac.za




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