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The Flatfoot Dance Company’s Ms Jabu Siphika
and Ms Julia Wilson perform.

UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts will host the 16th annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from 27 August to 7 September, with one performance at artSpace on 4 September.  

This year’s JOMBA! is an especially focused MSANZI edition with attention being given to supporting some of South Africa’s top dance companies and dance makers. 

Five of South Africa’s most awarded and cutting edge dance companies have been invited to perform at JOMBA.  They are the Vuyani Dance Theatre (JHB), Moving Into Dance Mophatong (JHB), Flatfoot Dance Company (DBN), First Physical Theatre Company (Grahamstown) and the Floating Outfit Project (DBN).

The Festival opens with the Vuyani Dance Theatre offering two works; Beautiful Us created by Gregory Maqoma and Dominion choreographed by Luyanda Sidiya.   

Also featured is Durban’s inimitable Flatfoot Dance Company. Fresh from a tour to Chicago. UKZN’s Lliane Loots and her incomparable six Flatfoot dancers will present a soulful and deeply personal collaboration with Durban’s singer/songwriter Shannon Hope.

Titled HOPE, Loots takes her inspiration from weaving Hope’s poignant torch song lyrics into a contemporary dance landscape. HOPE is an ironic and sometimes witty encounter with the quagmire of contemporary love relationships. This is new territory for Loots who, often known for the dissident social and political voice in her dance work, steps into a more interior and personal landscape with HOPE.

No strangers to JOMBA! and Durban dance audiences, Moving Into Dance Mopathong (MIDM) break new ground at JOMBA! 2014 with a collaborative dance theatre work between MIDM’s own Sonia Radebe and Canadian choreographer Jennifer Dallas of K?mi Contemporary Dance Projects based in Toronto. 

Titled Ngizwise, Radebe and Dallas offer a meeting of two dynamic female choreographers and their search for what is common and what is unique in their different styles and cultural contexts. Ngizwise is a deft and moving meeting between choreographers and dancers – cross-cultural, cross continent – as they begin to reveal the intimate stories of South Africa and the voices of the “born free generation”.

JOMBA! will also feature the work of Grahamstown-based First Physical Theatre Company. Under the artistic directorship of Juanita Finestone-Praeg (one of the original founder members for First Physical), this programme highlights the corporeal imagination in the making and performing of original South African choreographies. These performance “experiments” continue First Physical’s legacy in questioning ways of making and creating dance theatre.

Finally, on the main platform performance front, JOMBA! continues its long-standing relationship with artSpace (Durban) Gallery where they will host  Durban’s Boyzie Cekwana and his Floating Outfit Project. It is an explorative experiment in the various expressions of love and loving, in tender or violent articulations.

The 2014 residency culminates on the last night of the Festival (7 September) when audiences will be treated to a glimpse into working process and some of the dance making that has been generated.

JOMBA! hosts its usual platforms of the Fringe (Monday, 1 September) and the Youth Fringe (Saturday, 31 August ). The Youth Fringe takes place at the UKZN Open Air Theatre (entrance is free) and is a celebration of over 28 KwaZulu-Natal based youth dance groups and the incredible dance work that they are doing.

JOMBA! offers a full programme of workshops and master classes by all of the participating dancers and choreographers for which there is no charge.  

Call 082 875 6065 during office hours or e-mail (jombafestival@gmail.com) to book a place at least two days in advance of the workshop. The workshops are only open to dancers aged 16 and older. 

Tickets for JOMBA! cost R60 for adults and R45 for scholars, students and pensioners. Book through Computicket or at the venue from one hour before the show.

For more information, go to www.cca.ukzn.ac.za and like the Facebook page: JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience and follow on Twitter: Twitter@Jomba_dance.