School of Arts

UKZN Alumnus and Veteran Dance Writer launches New Book

UKZN Alumnus Adrienne Sichel.
UKZN Alumnus Adrienne Sichel.
UKZN Alumnus Adrienne Sichel.
UKZN Alumnus Adrienne Sichel.

The Ar(t)chive; South Africa’s award-winning theatre dance and physical performance archive, launched the ground-breaking new publication: Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance by UKZN Alumnus and pioneering veteran dance writer Adrienne Sichel at this year’s 20th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience.

Sichel has, over the past 40 years, painstakingly documented and critiqued the changing landscape of contemporary dance in pre and post democracy South Africa in her journalistic writing. Her contribution to the dance industry has earned her the respect of both the national and international dance community.

In Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance, Sichel presents some of the markers in the timeline and sketches the eras and genres which make up this art form in South Africa and on the African continent.

‘This book is the only existing blueprint of contemporary dance in South Africa and will undoubtedly be a seminal teaching guide in performance studies. Embedded in the statistics and histories, lie a ganglia of complex narratives and aesthetic alchemies inextricably connected to, and emerging from, a still fractured society in constant transition,’ she said.

Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance is a concerted attempt to map this artistic terrain in a socio-political context. Whilst being acutely aware of the gaps, Sichel’s outline of this creative cartography aims to be as comprehensive as possible in framing, tracing and tracking a remarkable, intrinsic component of our cultural ethos.

Featured in this one of a kind book are artists, companies and festivals which include early pioneers and contemporary players such as Sylvia Glasser, Tossie van Tonder, Carly Dibakoane, Robyn Orlin, Alfred Hinkel, Jay Pather, Debbie Rakusin, Jackie Mbuyiselwa Semela, Jayespri Moopen, Boyzie Ntsikelelo Cekwana, Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe, Gregory Maqoma, Lliane Loots, Nelisiwe Xaba, PJ Sabbagha, Jeannette Ginslov, Dada Masilo, Mamela Nyamza, Fana Tshabalala, Jazzart Dance Theatre, Moving into Dance Mophatong, The First Physical Theatre Company, The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, Flatfoot Dance Company, Via Katlehong Pantsulas, Dance Umbrella, JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience and The Baxter Dance Festival.

Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance was originally edited by Tammy Ballantyne and Clare Craighead. The books retails at R400 and is available for purchase from all major bookstores.

The publication was made possible through the support of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), RMB, Porcupine Press and Ian Hamilton.

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