The “full house” signs were on display at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the opening night of UKZN’s 20th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience presented by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) in the College of Humanities.
One of the few remaining contemporary dance festivals in South Africa, JOMBA! features performances over two weeks; offering dancers, choreographers and the public an opportunity to engage in workshops, discussions and master classes.
UKZN Artistic Director and Performing Arts lecturer, Ms Lliane Loots, gave the keynote address which looked back on the birth of JOMBA! and its prolonged success. ‘It’s space of hope that has championed our collective deep abiding passion and need for art as well as the political and personal right of all of us to access cultural expression as our democratic birth right; be this as an artist, dancer, journalist, academic, audience, reader or listener’, said Loots while describing the CCA and JOMBA!.
She sees the arts as the ‘ephemeral and transient manifestation of hope’.
Being the artistic director of this festival has been an act of service for Loots. ‘I and the extraordinary team I work with have had to find courage to be these “keepers of hope”. This is the legacy we hope to continue to build on,’ she said.
The JOMBA! Opening performance featured Johannesburg-based Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. They performed in the very first edition of JOMBA! In 1998. MIDM performed two new works: Sunnyboy Motau’s Man Longing, a brooding yet beautiful work that uses dance and poetry to explore the sinister world of human trafficking and guest artist, Khutjo Green’s collaboration with MIDM women dancers in The Women Who Fell from the Moon inspired by Nina Simone’s song: Four Women, a searing exploration of the collective power of women.
The opening night of the UKZN contemporary dance show, JOMBA!
Photographs: Val Adamson