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JOMBA! CONTEMPORAY DANCE EXPERIENCE (article first published : 2004-08-20)

Ten years of South Africa's democracy is celebrated in this year's JOMBA! Festival in a symphony of contemporary dance that also celebrates the creative work of the African continent. JOMBA! 2004, which takes place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from August 18 to 29, is an Ďall-Africa' event in which performers dance, stamp and leap to the rhythms of the contemporary dance work being made by fellow Africans.

Hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Centre for Creative Arts (CCA), JOMBA! is proud to welcome amongst others, dance companies from Nigeria, Mali and Mozambique.

Ijodee, from Nigeria, won the SANGA All Africa competition hosted in Madagascar in 2003 and are presently touring Europe and Africa. Also participating will be other ground-breakers from the SANGA event, namely La Compagnie (Mali) and Projecto Cuvalis (Mozambique) and the presence of these companies will provide rich insights into contemporary dance styles and practices from other parts of the continent.

The programme also features award-winning Johannesburg choreographer Gregory Maqoma whose work has been heralded by international dance critics as the "new visionary dance voice for South Africa". Alongside all the JOMBA! dancers, choreographers and dance companies, Gregory Maqoma will teach workshops and classes - watch the press for more details.

Local dance companies Fantastic Flying Fish, Flatoot and Phenduka Dance Theatre have been awarded grants by the CCA to premiere new work at the festival. In recognition of the incredibly high standard of local dance work JOMBA! is proud to be part of facilitating these Durban based companies in their bid to make socially engaging dance work.

Internationally acclaimed Boyzie Cekwana's Floating Outfit Project will also perform at the festival. This is a rare treat for dance-lovers as Cekwana's international commitments often makes it impossible for him to present work in South Africa.

The festival hosts a number of innovative dance experiences that push the boundaries of dance presentation. Expected to be one of the highlights of this year's festival is the Republic project facilitated by Siwele Sonke's Jay Pather and involving 12 local dancers, video artists, architects, fashion designers and choreographers coming together to create site-specific performances. Pather is a master in taking dance out of the theatre and putting it into the street, the coffee bar, the art gallery and the shopping mall. This unique collaboration project takes place on August 23 at artSPACE durban (next to the Waste Centre in Umgeni Road), and in the Albany Grove precinct on August 26.

The Jomba! FRINGE programme provides opportunities for up and coming young choreographers to enter dancework, and twelve selected new works by these young talents will be showcased at the Sneddon on August 22.

Youth dance companies will also strut their dance stuff in a special performance day on August 28 in Cato Crest Community Hall in the new Youth Dance Fringe for dancers under the age of 16 years.

Besides a host of dance workshops and classes (all free if booked in time), JOMBA! will also host a four day Dance Conference in which ideas around what constitutes an "African Contemporary Dance Aesthetic" will be debated between some of the top choreographers, dancers and academics in Africa.

Principal funders of the 2004 Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience are the National Lottery Distribution Fund, HIVOS, Royal Netherlands Embassy, Africalia, Association Franciase d'action Artistique, and the French Institute of South Africa. How foreign funding operates in the South African (and African) dance context will be one of the issues discussed during the conference.

Full programme details of Jomba! activities are available on website www.cca.ukzn.ac.za and more information can be obtained through cca@ukzn.ac.za or by phoning 031 260 2506.




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