The free online 22nd JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, has a packed programme of 10 USA dance films and 22 dance works including some created during Covid-19 lockdown.
Nine of these were commissioned through grants to Durban and Pietermaritzburg dance-makers for a platform called “JOMBA! Digital Edge” which will open the festival on August 25 at 7pm and be available online for the duration of the festival.
The “JOMBA! Digital Edge” has provided grants to these nine KwaZulu-Natal dance-makers who continue to make waves on the local dance scene. They were asked to create short dance films loosely around the theme of “Intimacies of Isolation”.
Dance-works in this line-up have been created by Durban dancers Jabu Siphika, Kristi-Leigh Gresse, Leagan Peffer, Nomcebisi Moyikwa, Sandile Mkhize, Sifiso Kitsona Khumalo, Tshediso Kabulu, and Zinhle Nzama, and from Pietermaritzburg, Tegan Peacock.
Flatfoot Dance Company’s Jabu Siphika’s solo piece “Ya kutosha”, is an intimate and terrifying exploration of gender-based violence and what it means to be trapped in the home.
Another solo work “Fellow…” created by award-winning and edgy dance-maker Kristi-Leigh Gresse explores an artist’s state of mind in isolation. It is a journey through this maze in search of light.
Durban’s neo-classical wonder-girl Leagn Peffer’s “Kairos”, is a personal journey in a solo that delves into the confluence of passion and purpose. In love, in anger, in deceit, in loss as in failure, this work interrogates how life allows us to face struggle.
Nomcebisi Moyikwa whose work, “U n g a n y a k u m” , which is an experimental multidisciplinary “contemplation; a devotion and a prayer decomposed, says (this work) “is an engagement with silence – demonstrated by blank spaces. It is an intentioned meditation that seeks evidence for this question: What does it mean to insist not to die?”
One of Durban’s hidden dance gems is Sandile Mkhize (Phakama Dance Company) who seeks “history, forefathers, revolution, and ways of being under COVID-19 and “our humanity” in his work “Time” performed by himself and Cue Ngema.
“Walls” is a deeply intimate exploration of a father-daughter relationship set against the separation imposed by Covid-19 and the lockdown has been created and performed by Sifiso Kitsona Khumalo (Flatfoot Dance Company) and his daughter, Lethiwe Zamantungwa Nzama.
Pietermaritzburg dance stalwart, Tegan Peacock has created a short film called “Control – Alt – Delete” which offers an intimate insight into the struggle with control or the loss of it.
“Both internally and externally our lives have been radically altered and everyone is fighting to regain control and find a new normality,” she says. For this piece she has collaborated with artist Jono Hornby.
Dynamic dancer and choreographer, Tshediso Kabulu has created a work called “Space of Colour” which is an unflinching look at race and its intersection with class and poverty, and the uneven distribution of power and resources in South Africa; set against the backdrop of isolation and the coronavirus pandemic.
This work is performed by Kabulu and Motlatsi Khotle with poetry by Khwezi Becker and music by Anelisa Stuurman.
Finally, Zinhle Nzama (Flatfoot Dance Company) performing with Kirsty Ndawo offers “Shadow” which looks at friendship and the validations of having someone there for you always, even when you cannot hold hands in a world that now asks for distancing.
The festival runs from August 25 until September 6.
Watch on jomba.ukzn.ac.za. The programme is streamed at 7pm daily. From August 27 there will be repeats each day at 12 noon of the previous evening’s programme.
All platforms for 2020 are free of charge and a full programme is available via the website.