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Monday, March 26, 2012


(Julia Wilson and Sifiso Kitsona Khumalo)

Flatfoot Dance Company in collaboration with KZN Dancelink presents South-South at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from March 28 to April 1.

This is a season of new dance work by Liz Lea (Australia) and Lliane Loots (South Africa).

South-South is the meeting of two formidable women choreographers both of whom are carving out a space as intelligent, cutting edge and innovative contemporary dance-makers. Australian Liz Lea joins Durban’s provocative dance theatre maker, Lliane Loots, for a season that premiers new works created for the six resident Flatfoot Dance Company dancers, and for Lea’s work the inclusion of a further four guest Durban dancers; Jarryd Watson, Pravika Nandkishore, Zinhle Nzama and Leagan Pfiffer.

In a visual feast that celebrates contemporary dance making at its most beautiful, both Lea and Loots work alongside one another - not only to challenge the dancers but to afford Durban audiences a pioneering dance theatre experience.

Lea is a performer and choreographer trained at the London Contemporary Dance School and Akademi in London and Darpana Academy in India. She is fast developing an international reputation for her ground-breaking cross-cultural explorations of the meeting of classical Indian dance and martial arts, within the framework of contemporary dance making. She is presently working as the Artistic Director of Canberra Dance Theatre. She is a choreographer and dancer whose work with her own Liz Lea Dance Company is performed globally and she is delighted to find herself in South Africa as the result of an invitation by KZN DanceLink. Having lived some of her younger life in Malawi, Lea says she feels a little like ‘coming home’ when she stepped off the plane.

Lea is busy putting the Flatfoot dancers through their paces and is delighted by what she calls “an openness and a sense of strength and precision in their technique”. Her cross cultural style which really challenges the notions of fusion is used to full effect in her newly created work, titled a free mind. This dance work gathers its inspiration from the life and writings of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada. Jailed for 26 years, Lea explains of her own emotions of respect, love and humour when faced with the sheer humanity of Kathrada writings and stories, and whose life celebrates the political, spiritual and emotional idea of inclusion. “a free mind” is a sometimes witty, sometimes painful, but always surprisingly beautiful danced celebration of triumph.

Also not shying away from using history as a springboard, Loots’s new work, mapping nostalgia is her second collaboration with veteran maskanda musician Madala Kunene, and they are joined by long-time collaborator to Flatfoot, Mandla Matsha. Loots says that “working with live musicians who create and score in the studio as you are imagining and creating the choreography is a dream come true for any choreographer”.

Loots is well known for her award winning dance theatre landscapes in which her almost cinematic eye layers narrative upon narrative, allowwing the eye to wander over the dreams – and sometimes nightmares – of what it means to be South African. mapping nostalgia is a sometimes brutal look into the remembrances of what was hoped for but that never was, of the sometimes really beautiful longing for an imagined home; and all of this through the bodies of the six Flatfoot dancers whose own lives and stories have become part of this dance work.

Loots says, “all contemporary theatre travels to dark and dangerous places, all of it masked in beauty. Sometimes this beauty is real and then our heart sings, and sometimes this beauty is only an idea we once had for a better future, but always, in dance, we come back to the body; a surface tension for both violence and, maybe, redemption – this is what “mapping nostalgia” is about”.

South-South offers two innovative choreographic voices speaking physical truths that negotiate crossing cultures and crossing divides – not to be missed!

South-South has specifically been made possible by support from the National Arts Council of South Africa, the Australian High Commission, National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund and KZN DanceLink. Flatfoot Dance Company’s work is also supported by the National Arts Council of South Africa, HIVOS, BASA and ncpalcohols.

The season runs from March 28 to 31 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre with performances at 19h30 and on April 1 at 15h00. Tickets R65 (R45 student/scholar/pensioners) and for Cheap Thursday all tickets are R45. Booking is through Computicket.