Come Face-to-Face with Dance Umbrella 2015 @DanceUmbrellaSA

The 27th anniversary celebrations of the 2015 Dance Umbrella festival continue with ‘dancing all over Johannesburg’ at various theatres from February 26 to March 15. For sixteen days, the Dance Umbrella festival, principally funded by the National Lottery Distribution Fund, will again take over Johannesburg with an exceptional programme of contemporary dance and choreography from established and emerging, and local and international, choreographers.

Aside from the exceptional programme and other events on offer at Dance Umbrella 2015 there are also the popular Face-to-Face interviews. Audiences are given the opportunity to come Face-to-Face with some of the choreographers featured in the festival. The interviews/discussions will be hosted after certain performances of only some choreographers by dance writers and/or prominent dance personalities.

First up on Face to Face is Themba Mbuli. Mbuli, a former MIDM dancer and choreographer, is now a freelance dancer/choreographer and a dance teacher. Now based in Cape Town he has created a new work on the Unmute Dance Company called Ashed. Ashed mirrors the evolution of South Africa – “Looking at ourselves as a nation, where did we come from, where are we and where are we heading to” – are the questions being asked. Ashed is presented in partnership with Artscape and the British Council and will be at the John Kani Theatre, Market Theatre on March 3 and 4 at 20:15. The interview will take place after the second performance of his work on March 4.

Next up, on March 6, is Gavin Krastin, an award winning South African performance artist, theatre-maker, choreographer and designer-scenographer with an interest in the body’s representation, limitation and operation in alternative, layered spaces, with On Seeing Red. Krastin created this new work with sound composer Shaun Acker and it offers a reflective and sometimes ridiculous escape into a land of arresting images and absolute nonsense. It charts a journey of abandoning land and ideas of the body in an effort to flee from impending global chaos. Presented in collaboration with the National Arts Festival the work can be seen at the Barney Simon Theatre, Market Theatre on March 5 and 6 at 20:30. Age restriction: PG18.

On March 13, it is the turn of the critically acclaimed and respected South African pioneer and mentor in dance theatre and performance artist Tossie van Tonder. van Tonder, aka Nobonke, is a dancer-storyteller, writer, transformation facilitator and has been an active choreographer and dancer since 1981. She will discuss her new work Chthonia which focuses on her 32 year-long archive; her life is given full expression in this work and embodies the strength and emotion that this ageing female dancer can express. Chthonia will be presented at the John Kani Theatre on 12 and 13 March at 20:00.

The last Face-to-Face conversation will be on March 14 at The Dance Factory after the first performance of Nelisiwe Xaba’s new work Fremde Tänze. Xaba will speak about the theme of “Exotic Dance” that led to the creation of the work. Created in residency at the Julius-Hans-Spiegel-Zentrum in Freiburg, Germany, the focus on this work is investigating the forgotten aspect of German and West-European “Modern” dance. Fremde Tänze is at the Dance Factory on 14 March at 20:15 and 15 March at 14:30.

Dance Umbrella 2015 extends a thank you to its many partners, without whom the festival would not have been presented: the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, (the principal funder) the Goethe Institut Johannesburg, National Arts Council and Rand Merchant Bank who both assisted with the Dance XChange and/or Dance Space Residency Programme 2014. Other partners include French Institut of South Africa, MOAD Gallery, Embassy of Israel, South Africa, the National Arts Festival, City of Johannesburg, Oupoks Projects and Services, Capital National Arts Council and The A(r)tchive.

Tickets – R60 to R100 are available from www.computicket.com

The Dance Umbrella 2015 programme is available at www.danceforumsouthafrica.co.za

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