The 24th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for Creative Arts, has announced its programme for its first live festival since 2019, which takes place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, UKZN from 30 August to 11 September 2022.
The theme of this JOMBA! centres around “the (im)possibility of home”, and offers dance and theatre fans a treat of 13 days of world-class contemporary dance and performance from both local and international dance-makers. Artists hail from Mozambique, Switzerland, Reunion Island, India, and of course, includes the very best that South Africa has to offer. This edition offers a powerhouse of performances, workshops, after-performance Q & A’s, panel discussions, virtual screen dance, and the return of the JOMBA! youth dance platform that continues to support the growth of Durban’s young dance communities.
“We are thrilled and relieved to be finally presenting our much-loved festival – live and in-person, while keeping some works and events online to include those not able to attend,” says Artistic Director and Curator, Dr Lliane Loots. “This year, through the theme “the (im)possibility of home”, we have set out to interrogate a series of dance offerings that negotiate heritage, culture, nostalgia, and identity, which explore a sense of belonging and how this persists, changes, and transforms through time – and what a time (both local and global) for this moment!”
Within this theme, Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe will be honoured as the 2022 JOMBA! Legacy Artist. “This year marks a 30-year history of Mantsoe’s career as a dancer and choreographer and we can think of no better way to honour this incredible icon in South Africa’s historical dance trajectory than to celebrate with him,” says Loots.
There will be a live performance of Mantsoe’s new solo work KOMA, the screening of his short dance film CUT (part 1) made during lockdown and his two-year process (2021 and 2022) of working with Durban’s FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY and the long journey to making CUT (part 2) – which will premiere at the festival, and he will present a masterclass.
South Africa’s doyens of contemporary dance – the controversial and critical dance-makers – Mamela Nyamza and Nelisiwe Xaba feature with Xaba opening this year’s festival in a collaboration with Swiss dance maker Marie-Caroline Hominal in a work intriguingly and simply titled Hominal/Xaba.
The deeply interrogated and thoughtful Mamela Nyamza offers her newest work GROUNDED. performed with her son Amkele Mandla, in which she offers us a look into her South Africa where democracy superficially seems to be in a working condition, but actually has small cracks not easy to see.
In partnership with the Goethe-Institut South Africa, JOMBA! will host the inimitable Mozambican dance-maker Edna Jaime in her remarkable solo Um Segundo (One Second).
Fana Tshabalala, the 2019 JOMBA! Mellon Artist in Residence, makes a welcome return with his Broken Borders Arts Project to premiere his latest solo work Zann, which he began creating as part of the 2019 residency.
Three new works by Durban choreographers/dancers – Sandile Mkhize, Tegan Peacock, and Pavishen Paideya will premiere at the festival. All three were given grants to help push their creation of new local work in the JOMBA! EDGE mentored platform.
The JOMBA! YOUTH OPEN HORIZONS (formerly the Youth Fringe), will feature a host of local dance talent at The Stable Theatre.
The virtual offerings include the JOMBA! AFRICAN DIGITAL VOICES, OPEN HORIZONS and an online panel discussion.
In the JOMBA! AFRICAN DIGITAL VOICES platform Mozambican choreographer and dancer Pak Ndjamena, who collaborates with photographer and filmmaker Ivan Barros, has been commissioned to make a screen dance offering One Step at a Time; while Reunion Island’s Didier Boutiana and his company SOUL CITY present a dance film titled Le Sol Oblige (The Earth Obliges) a humbling and beautiful look at the relationship of the individual to ideas of home and land, and to community. Mantsoe’s Cut (part 1) features online here too.
JOMBA! OPEN HORIZONS (formerly the JOMBA! Fringe) continues to support dance-makers working in film. A jury will select six films to showcase from a call for submissions earlier this year, and the top three will be announced after the viewing.
The festival closes with a virtual conversation between Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts (Bangalore, India) and artist Simon Senn (Switzerland) looks at the dance work of this amazing centre and the incredible project between Senn and Bharatha Natyam dancer Rohee Oberoi.
There are three open workshops (dancers over 16 only) for dancers and dance-makers, an industry-related session entitled JOMBA! Forging Futures, and the much-valued JOMBA! KHULUMA online writing residency will feature write-ups, interviews and reviews. More details to be announced soon.
Live performances take place at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre (UKZN), the Stable Theatre (one performance and free) as well as virtual/online (free) .
Tickets for Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre performances are R80 – full price, R65 – students, scholars and pensioners. Booking is through Computicket.