The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s arts gateway to Africa and the world, the Centre for Creative Arts, is proud to be presenting the 15th annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience. JOMBA! fiercely holds onto its status as one of the few remaining dedicated spaces in South Africa where dance and choreography remain nurtured and supported. The festival’s vision continues to be to offer world class dance theatre that challenges audiences out of passive lethargic viewership; asking that we come to the myriad festival offerings (performances, workshops and classes) with the intention of being shocked, surprised, entertained and above all, to celebrate a critical art form.

On the local front, JOMBA! is very proud to be hosting the 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist award winner for dance, Fana Tshabalala. His new work, INDUMBA, premiered at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown to critical acclaim. Tshabalala’s dance work is a poetic encounter with African ritual and contemporary sensibility.

Another gem of this year’s festival is the collaboration between local Durban-based dancer and choreographer Desiré Davids, who joins forces with French-based Hélène Cathala in a soulful duet called B.L.E.N.D. On the international front, this 15th edition of JOMBA! has a number of firsts! This will be the first edition of JOMBA! to host an American company, and in partnership with the USA Department of State’s Arts Envoy Programme, JOMBA! is delighted to be hosting the Chicago-based company, Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre. Deeply Rooted will partner with local Durban darlings, FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY over a two-week exchange.

JOMBA! offers an unprecedented treat for ballet and neo-classical dance lovers, with an offering from Holland’s magnificent INTRODANS. World renowned for skill and virtuosity, INTRODANS bring a programme suitably titled SUPERSTARS. Europe’s finest come to JOMBA! in the form of firstly, Portuguese dancer Francisco Camacho. Camacho brings a hard-hitting solo work with THE KING IN EXILE. This solo is an exploration of contemporary political power that will no doubt speak to Africa. Secondly, Swiss duo T42, join JOMBA! dancers Misato Inoue and Félix Duméril, whose dance work is an often witty confrontation with difference and the old idea that European identity is singular. 

Another first for JOMBA! 2013, is a collaboration with Durban’s artSPACE (durban) Gallery which has been conceptualized for an audience who like an up-close and personal encounter with edgy dance. On show are Durban-based Musa Hlatshwayo and Vusi Makhanya’s latest dance offerings, and a solo from T42’s Swiss dancer Misato Inoue. Also on view is a collection of award-winning short one-minute dance films, curated by Jeannette Ginslov’s Screendance Africa

The festival also comes with the usual FRINGE and YOUTH FRINGE and seeks to open platforms to new dance makers – young and old alike. These platforms always prove to be enlightening in finding out where new talent might emerge. Look out for a series of free dance workshops with the festival’s participating dancers and choreographers, but please note that these activities require you to book in advance.

Lliane Loots
Artistic Director: JOMBA!

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