Dance Umbrella had its beginnings in 1989 when two journalists, Marilyn Jenkins and Adrienne Sichel, both with a passionate interest in contemporary choreography and dance, approached the major business-arts partnership at the time, the Vita Awards, requesting they initiate a contemporary dance festival in South Africa.
Under the aegis of AA Life, Vita Promotions, under the directorship of Philip Stein, launched the Vita Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg in 1989. There was no sponsor for the first festival and only about eight choreographers took part.
Dance Umbrella has become the platform for new South African work; it is the main programme which both artists and programmers consider the place to show and see work. This annual festival includes new commissioned work by South African companies/choreographers; invited international companies; young artists and a Fringe programme; a series of workshops/master classes; discussions and debates regarding the dance industry; Face to Face talks with selected artists.
Today the Festival, under the artistic directorship of Georgina Thomson, features new works from South African and/or African choreographers, international artists and young emerging artists and it is acknowledged as the premier contemporary dance festival in Africa.
Dynamic Dance Showcase: The FNB Dance Umbrella – a showcase of southern African and International dance and choreography – is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s most important festivals, offering an opportunity to explore and develop all emergent dance forms. Style
Dance Umbrella: Jumble of recycled aesthetics mixed with dance makers: What do you get when a South African musician, a Botswana visual artist and a Zimbabwean choreographer cross paths? A uniquely Southern African collaboration that puts politicians in the region to shame! Star Tonight