The Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities hosted an open three-day dance colloquium on Youtube as part of the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival.
Backed by support funding from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS), the JOMBA! Masihambisane Dialogues focussed on new ways of engaging dance/performance scholarship, practice, and practice-led research in innovative, provocative and interesting ways.
JOMBA! Masihambisane Dialogues aims to support South African and African (and diaspora) dance and performance scholarship and research through accessible and community-driven strategies.
The event involved an international community of dance/performance scholars curating an engaging dialogue around dance.
This year’s curatorial committee included Dr Lliane Loots (UKZN); Mr David Thatanelo April (University of Pretoria); Ms Clare Craighead (Durban University of Technology); Mr Gift Marovatsanga (University of Zululand); Dr Sarahleigh Castelyn (University of East London, England); Ms Thobile Maphanga (UKZN CCA) and Dr Yvette Hutchison (Warwick University, England).
Loots said: ‘I am delighted, as part of the CCA/JOMBA! team, to deliver our first JOMBA! Masihambisane Dialogues which aim to promote new dance scholarship and critical dance writing. We are even more delighted that the NIHSS has come on board as a funding partner indicating the value they see in this. I am personally excited to see this new development which we hope will become an annual event!’
Keynote speakers included award-winning and prolific South African choreographers Boyzie Cekwana, Nelisiwe Xaba and PJ Sabbagha. Sessions comprised prepared papers, conversations, a workshop and performances.
A panel titled: BOXED and Its Inspirations for the Future, based on Dr Anita Ratnam’s (Chennai, India) 2020 work Boxed, created during the COVID-19 pandemic, has become a template of how an existing crisis can inspire original dance art. Panellists include Ratnam and the series consultant, Ms Chitra Sundaram.
Other highlights of the colloquium were [DE] TACH presented by Mr Lucky Karabo Moeketsi, which explored the environmental habits that became a Black society’s norm against the spectre of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing.
Digital Dance and Domesticity: the Work of Female East African Choreographers in a Time of COVID, was the title of a paper presented by Mr Charlie Ely (University of Leeds in England) which examined how the new realities of the pandemic have shaped the work of female East African choreographers.
A workshop and paper titled: When I Slam my Body into a Wall, I Know that it’s There, authored and facilitated by Ms Kristina Johnstone (University of Pretoria & WITS) examined the facilitation of embodied practice in a virtual space of teaching, learning and creation, specifically looking at ways of encouraging touch and the importance of creating moments of synchronicity (shared time).