Media Release


24, 25 & 26 May 2023

Unmute Dance Company and FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY in "longitude of silence" (JOMBA! 2019) Photo: Val Adamson
Unmute Dance Company and FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY in "longitude of silence" (JOMBA! 2019) Photo: Val Adamson

JOMBA! MASIHAMBISANE DIALOGUES, a thought-provoking place for serious arts and dance dialogue that promotes change – hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts’ (UKZN) JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, in partnership with the University of Warwick and the African Dance Disability Network – takes place online from 24 to 26 May 2023.

The JOMBA! dialogues, which is free and open to all, has as its focus – Integrated Dance Practices: Moving Centres aims to engage research, teaching practices, and performance making that looks into integrated dance and disability dance as an embodied form with a particular African focus, without being exclusive.

Hosted in the 25th anniversary year of the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, MASIHAMBISANE DIALOGUES features a series of keynote addresses, panel discussions, Q & A sessions, workshops and on-line performance pieces which engage with the idea of what integrated dance is.

“Perhaps we automatically think of disability when we encounter the term integrated dance,” says curator Lliane Loots. “But in this series of dialogues, we are asking whether we could, should and even have broadened our approaches to integrated dance in more intersectional ways? And what would this mean practically for disability dance itself as practice, in teaching and in performance making”.

The JOMBA! dialogues features dancers and choreographers from all over the world working in integrated practices who will share their own practices; dance educators working with integrated training methodologies; researchers who are engaging the intersections between dance, disability, postcoloniality, decoloniality and new methodologies; and disabled and non-disabled dancers who can share how they have developed their own (amongst other key areas) practices, techniques, methods of training, and choreographic practices.

Three keynote speakers will feature: Prof. Yvette Hutchison (UK/SA – University of Warwick) who will provide the opening discussion and framing for the 3-day JOMBA! dialogues; Joseph Tebandeke (Uganda) – an Ugandan dancer and choreographer who will speak to his integrated dance practices, and Calvin Ratladi (South Africa) a dancer and theatre maker will be in dialogue with choreographer David April around their recent collaboration “Plunge Avatar”. 

Panelists include Nadine McKenzie (Unmute Dance Company, South Africa), Gladys Agulhas (Dance Educator & Choreographer, South Africa), Ondiege Matthew (Dance Into Space, Kenya), Dr. Gerard Samuel (Centre for Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies, UCT, SA), Prof. Hershini Bhana (Departments of AADS and Women and Gender Studies, UT Austin, USA): Dr. Jessi Parrott (Independent performer, creative and researcher, UK-SA) and Sydney Erlikh (University of Illinois Chicago, USA). They will engage in a variety of discussions – drawing on their own experiences, works and teachings around integrated dance.

Exciting news is that Petra Kuppers (University of Michigan, USA) will facilitate a workshop based on Starship Somatics a community dance modality she developed during the early days of the COVID that looked for a way to create online environments for accessible, disability-culture-focused somatic creative movement. This workshop uses improvised movement (inner and outer movement, as is accessible and appropriate to the participant), dream journeys, sounding, writing, and drawing as transportation devices: firmly grounded in the sensory immediacy of our beds, sofas, floors and windows, and flying wide to honour ways of being of all kinds. All welcome, grounded in disability culture values – booking essential for this!

A number of abstracts or papers will be presented promising some robust discussions: Dr Sarahleigh Castelyn (University of East London, UK) presents “We need to talk about Giselle” in which she examines the mental illness presented by the popular classical ballet and how from “the choreographer to the reviewer, we are all responsible and accountable for the proliferation of negative stereotypes of madness and thereby adding to the stigma of mental illnesses, such as Bipolar.”

Phyllis Klotz (SIBIKWA Arts Centre, South Africa) presents a paper titled “Reflection on SIBIKWA’s inaugural 2022 ‘Body Moves’ Festival’ – tracing legacies of integrated art practices”. The Benoni based SIBIKWA Arts Centre, has a long history of supporting and nurturing community based integrated and disability dance, theatre and music initiatives. This paper/dialogues talks about this history that came to fruition in the 2022 inaugural ‘Body Moves Festival‘.

Zhiling Guo (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK and ADDN) presents “Hearing Difference: a Gift to Applied Theatre” in which she looks at the contribution of Deaf culture to Applied Theatre using two projects from The Signdance Collective company as examples of “Deaf Gain”, a concept that refers to the contribution that Deaf culture can make not only to the empowerment of the Deaf community, but also to human society.

In her paper “Re-Imagining Dance Studies for the FET phase in Western Cape Education Department: Making moves for inclusion”, Bernice Gordon (Western Cape Education Department, South Africa) asks “How can education specialists align themselves to ensure the inclusion of differently-abled bodies to experience the benefits of Dance Studies through a strengthened Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement-CAPS?”  

The JOMBA! MASIHAMBISANE DIALOGUES will be livestreamed to the JOMBA! YouTube Channel and can be accessed free of charge: or on a closed ZOOM IP for direct participants and for those who wish to apply to join and be present in the DIALOGUES room can contact Thobile Maphanga on

For more info or for the full programme go to: 


Sharlene Versfeld
Versfeld & Associates
Public Relations and Communications
Mobile: +27 (0) 83 326 3235

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