Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM), will be presenting its spellbinding season titled FEATHERS at the Wits 969 Festival on July 21, Wits Main Theatre.
Now in its thirteenth year, the 969 Festival is a celebration of 20 dance, theatre and music productions that where featured on both the National Arts Festival’s (NAF) Main and Fringe stages in Grahamstown where MIDM’s FEATHERS season clinched a Standard Bank Ovation Award. The Wits 969 Festival is named after the distance in kilometres between Grahamstown and Johannesburg, and runs from 13-24 July. The programme also features two international productions from the UK and USA.
The FEATHERS season showcases four exhilarating dance works by MIDM’s star choreographers and is a collection of new pieces which explore various themes of identity, masculinity, gender and cultural heritage, including Road, Fight, flight, feathers, f***ers, My Black is My Black and Everlast.
MIDM Artistic Director Mark Hawkins emphasized the importance of presenting these innovative dance works to its local audience as 969 Festival has grown to become “the post-NAF calendar event for theatre-lovers in Gauteng”.
The Wits 969 festival is not just an alternative for those who couldn’t make it to the NAF, but has also garnered a reputation of being an important event for arts enthusiasts in Gauteng because of the local and international talents it brings to stages in the province. This is a great platform for our new works and we are very excited to bring them to our home audience.
The season opens with a dance piece titled, Road, a poetic and poignant duet – choreographed and performed by the winner of the prestigious Kurt Jooss International Choreography award, Oscar Buthelezi (25), who was recently named one of Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for 2016, alongside fellow MIDM dancer and rehearsal director, Muzi Shili.
The piece is about navigating to where we want to be and defining the route that guides us there. In a recent historical double win at the Kurt Jooss Awards held in Germany, Buthelezi became the first South African choreographer to win the award and to clinch both the Audience Choice and the prestigious Jury’s Choice awards.
The FEATHERS season also features Fight, flight, feathers, f***ers which is a collaboration between MIDM’s 30-year-old Sunnyboy Motau and renowned British dancer/choreographer Rachel Erdos.
This work of art explores the politics, psychology and physicality of masculinity and the fight or flight principle. The work was originally commissioned by the Dance Umbrella where it was among the top five works presented at the Festival in 2015.
Fight, flight, feathers & f***ers was also staged at the Market for the Performing Arts in Africa (MASA) Festival in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoir, in March.
Motau will also perform his new solo work titled My Black Is Black which innovatively explores the past and present issues faced and inherited by the people of colour in South Africa, and neighbouring countries. This production premiered in Harare, Zimbabwe in May where it was well-received at the HIFA Pop Up Festival. Motau is a force to be reckoned with and was also named one of Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans for 2015. He was also nominated for a prestigious Naledi Award in the Sophie Mgcina Best New Emerging Voice category last year.
Everlast is choreographed and performed by Eugene Mashiane (26) who is another MIDM rising star. Everlast is a thought-provoking artistic piece about the dehumanisation of labour through the separation of product from the producer and a forfeiting of rights of ownership to the product created. Mashiane’s dance career began 16 years ago in Mpumalanga and he is now among the aspiring choreographers at MIDM.
“We promise our home audience nothing less than what was presented at the NAF and I encourage all dance enthusiasts to come out in numbers to enjoy some of the best local dance talent South Africa has to offer,” Hawkins concluded.