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Thursday, July 16, 2015


(Musa Hlatshwayo)

During June, award-winning dancer and choreographer Musa Hlatshwayo has been hosting phase 2 of his Mhayise Productions’ Movement Laboratory Residency. This featured a number of young performing artists from the Movement Laboratory and a number of other represented organizations or performing groups.

“While movement technique training and body conditioning were still at the forefront, our focus area was on the creative processes of ‘creating’. This included understanding how to identify an idea, process it into a concept, cook it into a piece and serve it as a performance of a live contemporary dance theatre piece,” Hlatshwayo explains.

“We covered a range of exercises, tools and methods that enabled the participants a chance to explore and challenge themselves during the process of their own creations as guided by the theories and philosophies discussed. This process also had to be highly mindful of the environment under which all of this was happening as a means of feeding and nurturing the creative process and the mind. Different ideas and approaches were discussed alongside the different areas that one can tap into when engaging in the creative process of creating contemporary performance art.”

Scheduled activities showcasing the Residency’s working process and methods took place at Stable Theatre’s Ballroom Square and was open to the public and the arts community. artSPACE Durban then hosted the group for a week where they got an opportunity to explore indoors in an intimate space where a young artists exhibition (and competition) equally fed into their creative process.

“While the public and the fine artists roamed around watching and discussing the 60 pieces of work and voting for the one deserving of the R10,000 grand-prize, we explored, experimented and introspected ourselves a lot deeper using the artworks and the public’s energies as the resource. Each day we found ourselves being drawn to different art pieces, the different techniques and presentation aesthetics and artistic intents. We couldn’t help but draw a lot from these creative impulses as we collaborated with the language that we speak best; movement. The presence of the roaming audience in the very same space that we worked on also contributed another layer to the creative process,” says Hlatshwayo.

The highlight of this process was meeting Paris; a nine year-old ‘artist-in-the-making’ whose work was also part of the exhibition with a piece entitled Autism Rocks. This experience left the group understanding the basics of Autism.

Once threaded and structured, all the material worked on resulted in a full-length work of a very high standard. Titled Azishe-NonE-stoP, it showcased a variety of personal, emotional, intellectual and political testimonies through movement. The production went on to form part of the 2015 Durban Dance Movement Festival that took place in the Playhouse Drama.

The Movement Lab Residencies are an initiative fostered by Mhayise Productions as an extension of its free training programme. The Movement Lab continues to host free dance classes every Saturday at the Mayville Playhouse from 10h00 to 13h00 to anyone and everyone who is keen to move along at no charge.

For more information contact Musa Hlatshwayo on email: