Dance Umbrella: Dance Festival

Johannesburg, South Africa
26 Feb 2015 - 15 Mar 2015

Dance Umbrella: Dance Festival

Dance Umbrella 2015, funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, will offer Joburgers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to discover, experience and enjoy contemporary dance on all levels.

New local and international works will take over the city with dance happening all over Jozi.

A highlight of the 2015 festival is the strong focus on female choreographers. Since Dance Umbrella’s inception male choreographers have dominated the contemporary dance scene … but over the past years this has shifted. Dance Umbrella 2015 will focus on and celebrate both the established and the young up-and-coming female choreographers who will share the programme with their male counterparts.


On Fire: The Invention of Tradition
Choreographer: Constanza Macras
Venue: Dance Factory,
Thursday February 26 & Friday February 27 @ 19:00

On Fire, a new piece by Constanza Macras deals with the reevaluation of heritage and tradition, in relation to segregated cultural groups, being articulated in new ways in urban life with self-defined contemporary practices and rituals. The piece wishes to reflect on post-colonial / post – apartheid ongoing power struggles and the artistic deconstructions of colonial / patriarchal imageries of “the other“. Macras works with a mixed cast of South African and Berlin-based performers in collaboration with the Johannesburg-based artist Ayana V. Jackson, whose photography interrogates and deconstructs other aspects of a specific chapter that we might add to the history of “invented traditions”: the visual representation of the “other” in historical and journalistic photography.


What the Hell Happened to this Place??
Choreographer: Thabiso Pule
Venue: Goethe on Main,
Saturday February 28 @ 18:00 & Sunday March 1 @ 14:00

Our environment has been the victim of all sorts of attacks. An alteration of the ecosystem in Johannesburg has led to widespread manmade and long lasting consequences. A severe disruption of environment disasters have an effect on the biodiversity; this includes pollution, infrastructure and development.


Choreographer: Jay Pather
Dancing all over Johannesburg:
Saturday February 28 & Sunday March 1 @ 19:00
Performed by: Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre

rite is a re-imagining of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), first presented with Nijinsky’s choreography in 1913. Numerous versions have followed. The original work written in 14 sections involves the eventual sacrifice of a young maiden to appease the Gods of Rain. This act of custom and ritual becomes, in this production, a vehicle to probe roots and effects of abnegation of the feminine, through a traditional archival restaging of the classic work, interrupted by the contemporary fragment. Both narratives first punctuate each other and then merge. rite then becomes a conversation amongst forms: classical and contemporary African dances, image, ritual, performance and video. Closed forms and open-ended porous edges allow Stravinsky’s work to bleed in and out of the contemporary South African moment, played out as it is in downtown Johannesburg.


Venue: Wits Theatre,
Sunday March 1 from 10:00

This year Dance Umbrella adds a new section called Street Beat. This programme features Hip Hop Dance, Pantsula and Street Dance. Through an audition process facilitated by Matthews Manamela, David April and Sifiso Kweyama, 12 groups have been selected to present their work.


Venue: Dance Factory, Tuesday March 3
& Wednesday March 4 @ 19:00
‘fight, flight, feathers, f***ers’
By: Sunnyboy Motau and Rachel Erdos
Performed by: MIDM Company

Exploring the politics, psychology and physicality of masculinity, this work explores the fight or flight principle which is a biological reaction in animals under acute stress to either get
aggressive or flee. This work then correlates this theory to modern day male society, interrogating cultural differences in male reactions to varying life situations where their masculinity
is either challenged or validated.


The Architecture of Tears
Choreographer/Director: Ananda Fuchs

(visually inspired by a study of ‘100 Tears Photographed Through A Standard Light Microscope’ conducted by Rose-Lynn Fisher in 2013) comments on falling lustfully, landing painfully, dusting
off vigorously and confronting our simple and complex truths. Society appears to accept our curiosities far more readily then we accept them ourselves. FO8’s power duo Grant van Ster and Shaun Oelf join forces with dancer/ musician Thabisa Dinga and choreographer/director Ananda Fuchs in an exploration into the human responses to attraction beyond gender and social


Choreographer: Themba Mbuli
Company: UnMute Dance Company
Venue: John Kani Theatre,
Tuesday March 3 & Wednesday March 4 @ 20:15

This work by Themba Mbuli together with the UnMute Dance Company from Cape Town, mirrors the evolution of South African citizens. Looking at ourselves as a nation: where did we come
from, where are we and where are we heading to. It questions all the things that limit our growth: political, social and economic limitations; yet with positive attainments to keep
us looking forward.


Wena Mamela
Choreographer: Mamela Nyamza
Venue: Dance Factory,
Thursday March 5 & Friday March 6 @ 19:00

A pick axe, the ultimate female tool of African agriculture and pointe shoes, the attribute of every ballet dancer – with these references, and a life-size costume character as “partner”, Mamela Nyamza performs an eccentric solo that reflects on her personal history as a black South African woman and dance artist. In dazzling pictures she dissects the shackles of traditional role attributions and goes beyond the expectations of the female dancer. This work was created by Mamela in residency at various spaces: Theater im Pfalzbau and Steptext Dance project In co-production with DansArt Tanznetworks / Biennale Passages 14; DorkyPark Studio 44, Berlin; École des Sables & Association Jant-Bi, Toubab Dialaw, Senegal; French Institut Paris, Acacia Park, Goodwood Cape Town, South Africa. A special thank you to Germaine Acogny and Robyn Orlin.


On Seeing Red
Choreographed by: Gavin Krastin
Sound composition by: Shaun Acker
Venue: Barney Simon Theatre,
Thursday March 5 & Friday March 6 @ 20:30

Amidst the current treacherous global climate of greedy organisations of power, rapidly developing wars, corrupt governments, bio-medical disasters and streets of spilled blood and restless ghosts, “On Seeing Red” offers a ridiculous, yet reflective and angry escape into a land of arresting images and absolute nonsense. Fractured and fantastical, the work charts a journey of abandoning land and rejecting ideas of the body in an effort to flee from impending global chaos.


Young Choreographers Platform
Venue: Wits Theatre, Braamfontein,
Saturday March 7 & Sunday March 8 @ 14:00

This is a new platform for young choreographers who have been creating work for the past five years and have shown promise in their concepts and ideas. Some of the Young choreographers featured here have also participated in the Dance XChange programme which was funded by Rand Merchant Bank and the National Arts Council.


Student Choreographers Programme
Venue: Wits Theatre, Braamfontein,
Saturday March 7 & Sunday March 8 @ 16:00

The programme focuses on showing work from young choreographers who are still studying at a training institution or have just started creating dance work. Students from the University of Tshwane and Oakfields College feature in this programme.


Portrait of myself as my Father
Choreographer: Nora Chipaumire
Performed by: Tumbuka Dance Co
Venue: Moad Gallery,
Saturday March 7 @ 20:00 & Sunday March 8 @ 19:00

In “Portrait of myself as my Father”, Chipaumire authors and celebrates masculinity (male presence and representation), the black African body and performance, as well as interrogates the “Zimbabwean self” as manifested through time, space and force (dance). Chipaumire uses this opportunity to create an idealised masculine presence. The work is a collaboration between Tumbuka Dance Company and Company Nora Chipaumire. Chipaumire visited Zimbabwe in March 2014 as part of a four-month research tour of four African cities supported by the New York Live Arts Suitcase fund. Chipaumire is resident in New York City and has worked on companies in Africa and America. Her re-imagining of “dark swan” on UBW recently won her the 2014 Bessie Award


Featuring works by: Kitty Phetla and Thoko Sidiya.
Venue: John Kani Theatre,
Tuesday March 10 & Wednesday March 11 @ 19:00

5 Hats by Thoko Sidiya is a notion inspired by the different roles and responsibilities portrayed by women in their daily lives and the strength and power that women have in handling common and different situations that they face in their different life styles and cultures.


Simunye: We are one
Choreographer: Sello Pesa
Performed by: Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre
Venue: Newtown Precinct,
Thursday March 12 & Friday March 13 @ 18:30

Simunye: We are one… Sello Pesa’s new creation delves into the subject of patriotism, examining what makes up the “Rainbow Nation”. The work looks at what it means to be a South
African and who South Africans are. Is it only through legal citizenship that one becomes truly South African? Or do the acts of living, working and contributing to the economy, in fact make one South African? Ntsoana thanks Dominique Malaquais for her participation and collaboration on this project.


The surviving feminine, inhabiting dark deep places
hidden from mortal eyes and influences
Choreographer: Tossie van Tonder aka Nobonke
Imagist: Guy de Lancey
Venue: John Kani Theatre,
Thursday, March 12 March & Friday, March 13 @ 20:00

In a heightened state of emotion, voice and authenticity of being, the unstated truth of van Tonder’s South African dance archive of 32 years is given expression through the ecstatic powers of the ageing female dancer. Van Tonder is witness to the wilfully denied South African underbelly, while embodying the extreme state of emergency – throbbing, wide-spread and infectious.


Fremde Tänze
Choreographer: Nelisiwe Xaba
Venue: Dance Factory,
Saturday March 14 @ 20:15 & Sunday March 15 @ 14:30

Performed & Choreographed: Nelisiwe Xaba
Curated: Anna Wagner and Eike Wittrock

In spring 2014 Nelisiwe Xaba was invited to the Julius-Hans-Spiegel-Zentrum in Theater Freiburg, amidst the Black Forest in Southern Germany. Julius-Hans-Spiegel-Zentrum is a choreographic and academic research facility investigating a forgotten or suppressed aspect of German and West-European “Modern” Dance:its exoticisms. During her residency Nelisiwe Xaba created a dance evening based on the programmes of female dancers such as Mary Wigman and Sent M’Ahesa. These pioneers of modern dance in the 1910s and 1920s often
presented a series of short, exoticist pieces accompanied by music. In one evening they crossed distant places and times, or rather their imagination of them: a “Temple Dance” was followed by an “Indian Dance”, an “Arabesque” or a “Siamese Dance”. In her evening of “Foreign Dances”, Nelisiwe Xaba turns around the perspective and ‘exoticises’ the Black Forest. Supported: TANZFONDS ERBE – an initiative of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, supported by Goethe-Institut. The Julius-Hans-Spiegel-Zentrum was curated by Anna Wagner and Eike Wittrock.


Choreographer: Sonia Radebe & Jennifer Dallas
Performed by: Moving into Dance Mophatong
Venue: John Kani Theatre,
Saturday March 14 @ 19:00 & Sunday March 15 @ 15:00

Ngizwise is a thought-provoking dance work created by two dynamic female choreographers, one from Johannesburg and the other from Toronto. Performed and sung by four powerful, male South African performers from Moving into Dance Mophatong, the work uses a unique and combined dance language crafted by Sonia Radebe and Jennifer Dallas. It is a beautiful work, at once universal and personal; and using spoken words, as well as deft manipulations of the workaday set pieces the choreographers and dancers reveal intimate stories of South Africa under Apartheid, woven from the voices of the ‘born free generation’.


Negotiating Space Programme
Venue: Moad Gallery,
Sunday March 15 from 19:00

Seven choreographers will negotiate their way around the space assigned to them at the Moad Gallery in the Maboneng Precinct. This programme will give the audience an opportunity to “walk-about” the performances one-by-one. Choreographers include Thapelo Kotlolo, Leigh Nudelman, Yolandi Olckers, Thuso Lobeko, Kristin Wilson collaborating with Rob Mills, Kieron Jina and Chuma Sopotela from Cape Town.



Dance Writers Workshop:
Funded by the Goethe-Institut: Johannesburg a workshop for dance writers will be facilitated by Mary Corrigall. The outcomes of the workshop will feature on Social and general Media.

Master Classes by Alfred Hinkel:
March 3 to 7 : A series of Master Classes facilitated by internationally renowned teacher/dancers, will take place before and during Dance Umbrella. Watch the press for more information!

Excavating the Personal:
Choreographing the Archive
This discussion linked to Dance Umbrella 2015 performances and themes takes place on Monday 9 March 2015 from 18:00 in the WITS Downstairs Theatre. Selected artists will be offered an opportunity to speak to their own work in relation to the core theme of archive in performance. Open to the public this initiative is presented by The Ar(t)chive, Wits School of Arts.

Face to Face sessions:
A series of conversations/interviews before and during Dance Umbrella






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