22 March 2018 |By Kgomotso “Zeus” Meso
11th of March 2018, Wits Theater was abuzz with a variety of upcoming choreographers looking to showcase their artistic prowess. The event which forms part of Dance Umbrella’s New Dance programme that aims to enhance diversity within the performance space.
30 years later, Dance Umbrella introduces a programme that aims to promote female choreographers whose work ranges from Afro fusion, modern, ballet and pole dancing, with a twist in the mix.
Companies invited to showcase were from Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, amongst them were Durban Dance Exchange, Insanity Arts Collective, Moving into Dance (MIDM), National School of the Arts (NSA), Vuyani Dance Company, NeoDanceArt, ThukaEveya Dance Collective, Project Latish, with performances that paid homage to the many great women and men whose stories were never told and now these young choreographers have taken upon themselves to retell their stories.
This year themes ranged from the exploration of the complexities of rural Kwa-Zulu Natal and the plight of homosexuals as they strive to be accepted, understood and loved, forces one to look at identity and self-acceptance. Body shaming and the view of curvy and big-boned women in modern South Africa and the world at large in the masterpiece “Curvature” through dance and visuals she asks the questions ‘Will society ever stop perceiving beauty based on one’s body size.” Hidden within all of us are layers that we slowly peel to reveal our true nature, explores the hidden identities within the many layers we choose to show to the world, when one is lost, it helps to seek directions and move to a much brighter place, through movement we explore the variety of ways in which we as humans are mere travellers on a journey to self-discovery.
The audience were transported into a dual view of how storytelling has exceeded the norm of sound and has transcended through to movement.
A festival worthy of opening the performance industry for raw, and upcoming future choreographers who will have to walk in the shoes of the likes of Gregory Maqoma, Luyanda Sidiya, Fana Tshabalala, Sunnoboy Motau, Oscar Buthelezi, Lulu Mlangeni and many more who have paved the way to a world of modern and traditional contemporary, afro fusion and Traditional/Modern dances.