DETOURS: Re-routing movement composition The WITS School of Arts

Hosted by: The WITS School of Arts | Division of Dramatic Arts |Wits Theatre
Directors: Joni Barnard and Jane Crewe.

Where: The Wits Downstairs Theatre and Site specific works
When: 13-23rd May 2015

DETOURS looks back in reflection, interrogates the present and challenges performer/audience relationships

The festival opens with Program 1 on the 13th and 14th May @ 18:30, a combination of student, recent graduate and professional works. The first solo on the program, BLACK, explores the complex nature of memory and loss, corruption and emasculation through afro-fusion and contemporary dance, taking the audience on a journey of rags to riches. Originally performed in his final year of studies at Wits University, choreographer/performer Oupa Sibeko developed the work further during a residency in Iceland before joining forces with well-known practitioner, Gerard Bester.

DETOURS once again hosts a new work by Kwanele Finch Thusi. This year Finch collaborates with Donovan Orr in a duet titled Law of Bond-age. The work uses the infamous play ‘Boesman and Lena’ by Athol Fugard as an analogy to represent a rotting relationship between unsupportive government infrastructure, law, people and society. The decision to reference Boesman and Lena is because of the themes that are interpolated in the play such as “identity, bondage, belonging, abuse and unrequited love”. Law of Bond-age extracts the latter in the attempt to highlight this complicated relationship between the systemized notion of existence and man.

Guest choreographer, Sunnyboy Mandla Motau collaborates with Wits Movement and Physical Theatre students to create a work entitled Intro. This work explores the theme of introducing and introduction and how we as artists and humans would like to introduce ourselves on stage and in life in general. Sunnyboy is an accomplished dancer and choreographer currently based at Moving into Dance Mophatong. His most recent work entitled “fight, flight, feather, f***ers” was a collaboration with MID, choreographer Rachel Erdos and was performed at the Dance Umbrella 2015. In Intro, Sunnyboy works closely with other MID members: Teboho Letele as the composer and Eugen Mashiane as the assistant choreographer.

The second solo of the night, Dark Cell, is choreographed and performed by Themba ‘Dredz’ Mbuli, and draws its inspiration and metaphors from imagery of ex-political prisoners on Robben Island. This dance work uses the concept of a prison cell as a metaphor for mental imprisonment. Whilst celebrating and commemorating South African History, the piece is embedded in the past as a mirror of contemporary society and reflection of postcolonial interiorities. The solo work was produced by Broken Borders Arts Projects and was created through funding from the NAC. Mbuli is Co-founder, Choreographer and Managing Director of the Unmute Dance Company. Dark Cell has been performed locally and internationally including Infecting the City and the GIPCA Live Art Festival. The work contains scenes of nudity and will only be performed on Wednesday 13th May.

Closing the first program is an exciting improvisation group, Le Club. Le Club was conceived and led by Kyla Davis and Daniel Buckland, who are both directors, performers and theatre makers living and working in Johannesburg. Kyla is the Director of Well Worn Theatre Company, an independent physical theatre company known for both its passion for creating work around eco-social themes, such as ‘Planet B’, as well as its dedication to training and developing theatre for and by children and young people in SA. Daniel is the co-founder of Dark Laugh Theatre Company. His most recent credits include ‘The God Complex’ and ‘Donkey Child’. Daniel is an accomplished physical theatre performer who appeared in Sylvaine Strike’s ‘The Travellers’ and in Cirque Du Soleil’s ‘Love’ and ‘Saltimbanco’ as well as an experienced creator and writer of plays which include ‘The Butcher Brothers’ and ‘Lake’.

Program 2, 15th and 16th May @ 19:00 opens with Rhodes University MA student Ester van der Walt’s Déjà vu Déjà vu, a post choreographic performance that introduces the choreographer as historian and clown. She invites the audience into a humorous exchange of half-truths and complete lies as she attempts to embody a history of dance and choreography. Déjà Vu Déjà vu is a witty, off-beat solo, performed by a choreographer whose two left feet and idiosyncratic dance style creates an amusing reimagining of iconic works by choreographers such as Mary Wigman and Pina Bausch. This work is part of a series of explorations which began in 2014 and will culminate in a 45 minute work presented at the National Arts Festival this year entitled Transparent.

Multi-skilled writer/performer/director/choreographer and Wits graduate Emma Tollman presents a group work Autonia. Working from the archetype Baby Doll, the work looks at the body as automaton and the performance body as dehumanised thus challenging the relationship between audience and performer. In this work, Emma collaborates with musician Sub’Loot to create a haunting score for the work.

Makwerekwere, a collaborative work between the University of Pretoria and Tshwane University facilitated by Standard Bank Young Choreographer 2012 Bailey Snyman and Ashley Churchyard, is an exploration into the body in conflict, with particular focus on xenophobia in South Africa. The choreography utilizes Palle Granhoj’s obstruction technique to further explore the idea of the body in conflict.

Kieron Jina is currently the 2015 UJ Arts and Culture associate choreographer, and City Varsity’s senior lecturer in movement and voice. In collaboration with City Varsity students and co-choreographer Ntombi Nkuna, Strike Back! explores the moment we as citizens of a country are asked to turn around and go back to where we came from. We begin to contemplate our reality of where we have to return to or what the purpose of our existence is.

In the work The Fear of Loss, a collaboration between Nadine Joseph and Daniel Nubian, the question “What is Loss?” is explored. The Fear of Loss is a site specific work that speaks to the process of losing or having lost something, specifically the various losses that occur for both the victim as well as the perpetrator of a sexual/physically violent act. The piece seeks to open dialogue between the victim, perpetrator and bystanders/witnesses of these horrendous acts of violence. The Fear of Loss was first conceptualized in August 2014 and performed at the SPRING LOADED Festival in September 2014. The most recent performance of the work was at the inaugural MY BODY MY SPACE Festival in 2015. Among other awards, Joseph was awarded the Standard Bank Ovation Award in 2011 and 2013 and Young Choreographer in Residence at both Dance Forum and Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative in 2013.

All solos are a maximum of 10 minutes and duets or group works a maximum of 20 minutes.

Ticket Prices:
Full price: R45 online | R50 @ door
Students and Pensioners: R30 online | R40 @ door
Block Booking of 10 or more: R30 per person

Visit www.webtickets.co.za.

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