So, what can audiences look forward to on the Main Dance programme this July? “Strong, critical voices and a look at issues of identity and what it means to be a contemporary Africa citizen,” says David April, a member of the Artistic Committee and the lead curator of the Dance programme. “The themes are current, relevant and necessary to deal with some of the issues around space, place and African identity. The works lend themselves strongly to negotiating ‘history and memory’ as a way to understand the ‘now’.”
WATCH: A programme of ‘cross-generational performances’ – David April
Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance 2018 Musa Hlatshwayo presents UDODONA. Against the many on-going incidents that draw attention to the silenced brokenness of the black male identity, UDODANA explores the black male body; its associated and constructed identity and its placement in the society (particularly in traditional African communities, households and churches). Fusing both abstract and narrative approaches, the work explores indoctrination and incubation into the systems that ignore the development of black power and unity.
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Mzokuthula Gasa, who makes his first appearance on the Main Programme, choreographs and directs AMAQHAWE, a piece that explores what would happen if those who died for our freedom woke up – what would they say?
Moving Into Dance Mophatong will celebrate its 40-year anniversary with UKUBONGA INHLONIPHO, a programme choreographed by Sylvia Glasser, Themba Mbuli and Sunnyboy Motau, and starring the leading talents of Muzi Shili, Teboho Letele and Oscar Buthelezi, amongst others. The three works on the bill honour the company’s achievements and pay respect to the work and artistry of MIDM founder, Sylvia Glasser.
The 2018 ballet is ROMEO AND JULIET performed by Cape Town City Ballet under artistic director Robin van Wyk. Set to the classic Prokofiev score, this traditional favourite will be performed in the Guy Butler Theatre.
Returning to the Main Programme after a sold-out 2016, Cape Dance Company presents INTERPLAY, a programme of works including SUN – THE RITE OF PASSAGE, a newly commissioned work from South African-born choreographer Mthuthuzeli November; i-DOLLS, a restaging of work devised in 2009 by Featured Artist Mamela Nyamza about young adulthood; HUSH, written by Kirsten Isenberg and exploring how the voiceless feel. Iconic choreographer Adele Blank who has been working with CDC for the past two decades, will restage SWEET ON BOB, an ode to jazz legend Bob James.
Indoni Dance will present IKHAYA from award-winning choreographer Sbonakaliso Ndaba, who explores the aftermath of losing her mother in this deeply personal and emotive piece. The cast includes Bulelani George, Lubabalo Pupu and Mthetheleli Dlakavu.
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The South African State Theatre presents KIU (the Swahili word for ‘thirst’). An examination of drought in Africa and the importance of preserving water, this raw and sensitive piece is choreographed and directed by Mdu Nhlapo. It will be performed to hauntingly beautiful, live Afrocentric music.
Pro Helvetia brings exciting work with a Swiss-Mozambican connection to Grahamstown: Thomas Hauert’s HÀ MAIS foregrounds common motifs that Hauert and traditional dancers with whom he worked identified but juxtaposes the dance with short musical pieces by Igor Stravinsky.
Renowned Mozambican performer Panaibra Canda’s TIME AND SPACE: THE MARRABENTA SOLOS explores the idea of today’s African body: a post-colonial, plural body that has absorbed the ideals of nationalism, modernity, socialism and freedom of expression. The performance will be accompanied by guitarist Jorge Domingos, who explores Marrabenta music, a musical form born in the 1950s from a mix of local and European influences using a special Portuguese guitar.