The JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities showcased the premiere of six dynamic Durban choreographers’ new works, two by UKZN Drama students. These emerging artists provoke, poke, contest and disrupt while sharing parts of themselves through their work.
The six commissioned works were presented as part of the Durban Digital Edge Platform. The young local dance makers who are making waves on the local dance scene are Mr Sabelo Cele, Ms Thobile Maphanga, Mr Nqubeko ‘Cue’ Ngema, Mr Cameron S. Govender, Ms Aphelele Nyawose, and Ms Sinethemba Khuzwayo. Each was tasked to work loosely around the festival theme Border Crossings.
UKZN Dance Lecturer and Artistic Director of JOMBA! Dr Lliane Loots said, ‘At this holding-room time in history, and as we delve into the genre for Screen Dance, JOMBA! is proud to play a part in supporting Durban artists to reimagine their creativity and their dance work for a digital space. These are important voices of young people. It is work that is engaging and insightful, offering a window into the world of South African youth behind the veil of the pandemic.’
Cele, who is a Masters Candidate (Drama and Performance Studies) presented Uhambo – a documentation of how queer bodies thrive through living in movement. ‘Uhambo is a representation of how at times, we are out of sync mind, body and soul, yet also so magnificent when in alignment and we have found our soul/life purpose,’ he said.
Maphanga, another UKZN Masters Candidate (Drama and Performance Studies), dance practitioner, creative collaborator and currently in a curator mentorship with JOMBA! presented Sihamba sizibhala (In becoming we leave traces of ourselves behind). This is a solo exploration of one traveller’s journeying.
‘Sihamba Sizibhala offers a reminder that we are composing symphonies that are our life stories, expanding our views through travel, remembrance, friendships we make, love and even loss. In recollecting and compiling our stories, we need to remember that we have a choice to leave behind those that burden and trouble our souls and to bask in the sun and the goodness of life,’ explained Maphanga.
Border Impositions is the title of freelance choreographer and dancer Khuzwayo’s work, which unpacks the borders and boundaries imposed on the bodies of young generations through religion, culture, beliefs, and traditions. She has performed in a number of works by Mhayise Productions, and more recently in a music video by Dr Thokozani Mhlambi.
Govender’s Aikyam … reincarnating identity looks at the journey of discovery of self. He studied classical Indian styles such as Bharathanatyam and Natyam, and has performed and worked with Sri Saradha Institute of Arts and Culture, Tribhangi Dance Theatre, the Cape Dance Company, and SuriaLanga Dance amongst others.
imThwalo is a dance film created by Nyawose that tackles the contentious issue of remaining in abusive relationships in the context of African sexuality, spirituality and physicality. She is a dancer choreographer who has performed in numerous productions including Musa Hlatshwayo’s Ndoni.
Award-winning dancer, choreographer, teacher and the founder of Africue_entertainment, Ngema presented Can You See Me Now? which examines how African people have been blinded by western cultures, and how drawing on traditional cultures could help realign African thinking.