2009 JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Festival

Written by: Tiisetso Tlelima

Picture by: Suzie Bernstein
The 11th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience kicks-off in Durban tomorrow. Dance enthusiasts can expect a jam-packed 11 day festival where they can see and experience the cream of local and international contemporary dance theatre. This year, the festival’s key focus is on celebrating dance work from all over the African continent.

Theatre Taliipot – a theatre collective from Mauritius, Reunion Island and Madagascar – will be performing a magical dance theatre piece called Mâ Ravan during the festival. Directed and choreographed by Philippe Pelen Baldini, Mâ Ravan tells ancestral tales of the Indian Ocean through drums and dance. Mâ Ravan is a music, dance and theatre show inspired by a round drum called ravanne which is commonly played in all Indian Ocean islands.

JOMBA! also brings a Nigerian company Ijodee Dance Theatre to our shores this year. Ijodee is scheduled to perform their two award-winning solos and they will also entertain audiences with a new piece, in partnership with Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company. Together they will be present Encounters – a piece that speaks of both the immense difficulty of meeting across South and West Africa, of missed trips and failed economic support, but also of individual will and spirit which teaches that when bodies dance and beat drums together they cannot but form bonds of the heart. “JOMBA! is particularly proud of its African focus and the way in which the festival mediates the meeting of African dancers and choreographers,” says festival organizer, Lliane Loots.

Keeping abreast of developments in contemporary dance worldwide, JOMBA! has included Dance On Screen for the first time on its programme. JOMBA! Dance On Screen will be curated by Jeannette Ginslov and Gerard Bester, and will be offering audiences thirteen short films from around the world. According to Loots, who is also a choreographer, Dance On Screen is a ‘new global genre that’s shifting how we think about dance.’ The genre can be described as dance made specifically for the camera, for presentation as a single screen film or video.

Dance lovers can also expect spectacular shows from Mzansi’s much loved choreographers Sifiso Kweyama and his company Okhela Dance Theatre, Ntombi Gasa and Neliswa Rushulang. Rushulang’s work, The Human Ladder, is a heartfelt step into the notion of ubuntu and what it means to support one another.

JOMBA! has, over the years, firmly established itself as a space for contemporary dance work. Since inception it has grown and evolved to stay in tune with changes in the contemporary dance scene. “JOMBA is prized as a space where dance theatre makers can seriously create and experiment with the art form of dance,” adds Loots.

The festival will take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre in Durban from 22 April to 3 May.

For more info visit www.cca.ukzn.ac.za

Read our interview with Sifiso Kweyama