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Creative Feel February 2016 Cover Story: Dance Umbrella

Dance Umbrella 2016 opens on Thursday, February 25 at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre and runs until Sunday, March 6. A 28 year old celebration of South African contemporary Dance. Creative Feel features an in-depth article about the festival in our latest February issue… Get yourself a printed copy from an Exclusive Books store near you!

The first week kicks off at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre with a work choreographed by Jessica Nupen, assisted by Sunnyboy Motau, called Rebellion and Johannesburg on February 25 and 26 at 19:30.

Created on the Moving into Dance Mophatong company Rebellion and Johannesburg is a modernised interpretation of the classic Shakespearean story Romeo and Juliet, set on a backdrop of a transforming street sub-culture in Johannesburg. With an original score by Spoek Mathambo, costume and set design by Anmari Honiball and film projection by Ed Blignaut, the piece examines the complexities of a generation of young South Africans faced with the challenges of a transforming country. Rebellion and Johannesburg recently premiered in Germany and is presented at the Dance Umbrella with the support of Lufthansa.

The Last Attitude by Nelisiwe Xaba and Mamela Nyamza premiered last year at the

The Last Attitude by Mamela Nyamza and Nelisiwe Xaba during Dance Umbrella 2016
The Last Attitude by Mamela Nyamza and Nelisiwe Xaba during Dance Umbrella 2016

National Arts Festival, and is a work that interrogates the role of the politics of the ancient art form of ballet. Focusing specifically on the male ballet principal dancer, it reflects on the interaction between him and the ballerina and the progression that has been made from being merely the porter to lift the dancer to centre stage. It will be presented at The Dance Factory on February 27 at 19:30 and February 28 at 14:30.

A Double bill at the Soweto Theatre on February 27 at 14:30 and February 28 at 10:00 includes two new works: Interim, by Thami Majela and Swiss choreographer Margarita Kennedy, is a dance piece that looks at the connections found in movement, memory and sensory perceptions. Interim is presented with assistance from Pro Helvetia and Atelier Mondial; the second work of the Double bill is Lingering, a collaboration between Sonia Radebe and Teresa Mojela, which explores the physicality of thought and how the thought evolves when it lingers. This work is presented with assistance from the National Arts Council and it was created in residency at the Dance Space.

Portuguese choreographer Nelia Pinheiro will present Terra Chã during #DU2016
Portuguese choreographer Nelia Pinheiro will present Terra Chã during #DU2016

Portuguese choreographer Nelia Pinheiro will present Terra Chã at the UJ Arts Centre Theatre on March 1 and 2 at 20:15. This fusion of dance and music reflects on sonnets by Florabela Espanca which speak to beauty and the soul of Alentejano, extremes and their limits, love and disaffection. Terra Chã is presented with support from Camoes-Instituto Da Cooperacao E Da Lingua and the Embassy of Portugal to South Africa.

Ketima by Gregory Maqoma is a male and female quartet created on members of the Vuyani Dance Company. Ketima examines phases of development from crawling through toddling to the time when thoughts, feelings and actions get hooked to the mainstream of life and can be seen at the Market Theatre on March 2 and 3 at 20:15.

French choreographer Hamid Ben Mahi from Hors Serie Company created Toyi Toyi, a

Hamid Ben Mahi showcases Toyi Toyi during Dance Umbrella 2016
Hamid Ben Mahi showcases Toyi Toyi during Dance Umbrella 2016

protest dance that comes from activism found mainly in the streets. Featuring four performers, Toyi Toyi uses both dance and the spoken word to recount the life story of three South African dancers from Katlehong who share their encounters with a French dancer. This work is presented with support from the French Institut of South Africa at the Dance Factory on Thursday March 3 and Friday March 4 at 19:00.

On March 5 at 19:00 and March 6 at 14:30 at the Dance Factory, a second Double bill will be featuring new works from Shanell Winlock Pailman and Baily Snyman and Ashley Churchyard: 40 Years in 30 Minutes by Shanell Winlock Pailman, was created as a celebration of her life at 40. She will invite the audience to share with her the many ups and downs of her life; sharing her dreams and fears with glimpses of who she really is; Makwerekwere by Bailey Snyman and Ashley Churchyard explores xenophobia in South Africa. Makwerekwere is a derogatory term used for foreign nationals in the townships and the work sheds light of the fear of the “other” in South Africa.

Hero by Ivan Estegneev from Russia, assisted by South African PJ Sabbagha, investigates heroism and observes the way men, in performance and through courageous actions discover their “body power” and their own identity, however weak and imperceptible. This will be presented at the John Kani Theatre (Market Theatre) on March 5 at 20:30 and March 6 at 15:30.

The final programme for Dance Umbrella 2016 is New Dance at the Soweto Theatre on Sunday March 6 from 10:00. This is a curated programme featuring new work from young choreographers; choreographers such as Mdu Mtshali and Lorin Sookool from Durban and Thoko Sidiya and Kwanele Thusi from Gauteng.

Dance Umbrella 2016 extends a thank you to its many partners without whom the festival would not have been presented: The Department of Arts & Culture; the Gauteng Department of Sport & Recreation, Arts and Culture, the U.S. Mission South Africa, the French Institut of South Africa; the Goethe Institut Johannesburg (Dance Writer’s Workshop), National Arts Council; City of Joburg, The Market Theatre Foundation, Soweto Theatre, Camoes-Instituto Da Cooperacao Da Lingua and Embassy of Portugal South Africa, Lufthansa and Creative Feel and a special thank you to Splitbeam who will supply the technical equipment for the festival.

Gregory Maqoma photographed by John Hogg for Kitima during #DU2016
Gregory Maqoma photographed by John Hogg for Ketima during #DU2016

Tickets from R80 to R150 are available here from Computicket – 083 915 8000 and for performances at the Soweto Theatre: 0861 670 670 or

For block booking discounts and programme updates, please call 011 492 2033 / 0709 or email /

The Dance Umbrella 2016 programme is available on the website:

Follow Dance Umbrella on: Twitter: @danceumbrellaSA / Facebook: Dance Umbrella Festival Johannesburg / Instagram: Dance_Umbrella_SA

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