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Thursday, August 27, 2015

JOMBA! 2015

(Adedayo Liadi towers above Qudus Onikekeu in this scene from "City of God, City of Man". Pic by Val Adamson)

Two works on opening night give a taste of what is to come. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Presented by The Centre for Creative Arts and the College of Humanities of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the 17th annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience opened last night with two excellent works from West Africa giving a taste of what is to come for the rest of the festival. All credit to the JOMBA! team for bringing top quality local and international contemporary dance together for a feast of artistic achievement.

Both superbly lit, the two works - City of God, City of Man and Le Cargo - represent JOMBA!’s aim to honour the African continent and to continue to make artistic connection with the rest of Africa.

Making its world premiere at JOMBA!, City of God, City of Man is choreographed and performed by Adedayo Liadi and Qudus Onikekeu. Both powerfully built but capable of the most sensitive nuance, the dancers present a rivetting and highly dramatic performance in a piece that focuses on the “here and now”, refusing to allow the past to overwhelm the present.

The second piece of the evening, Faustin Linyekula’s internationally-acclaimed solo work Le Cargo, changes the mood to reflection dealing with memories that can be both painful and soulful. Linyekula is based in the Democratic Republic of Congo and this is his third visit to JOMBA!. Introducing himself as a storyteller, he poses the compelling question – “Have I Danced? ... And if I have, has it made any difference?”

Also appearing on the festival will be the Dutch company, INTRODANS, which will offer a stellar programme titled JOY4DANCE of dance works from their award-winning repertoire. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre will present their most recent work, the controversial rite, which is directed and conceptualised by Jay Pather and choreographed jointly by him and the full cast.

Representing the long-term dance collaboration between Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre (Chicago, USA) and Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company, JOMBA! features dance work by Chicago’s Kevin Iega Jeff, Nicole Clarke Springer, Anthony Marshall, Gary Abbot and Durban’s Lliane Loots.

JOMBA! hosts its usual platforms of the Fringe (September 1) and the Youth Fringe (August 30), the latter taking place at the Pieter Scholtz Open Air Theatre at UKZN (entrance is free). There is also a full programme of workshops and master classes by all of the participating dancers and choreographers. For more information visit the JOMBA page on

JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience runs until September 6 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre at 19h30, except on September 2 when the performance takes place at artSPACE Durban at 18h30. Tickets R60 (R45 scholars/students/pensioners) booked through Computicket (or at venue from one hour before).

JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience is organised by the Centre for Creative Arts (UKZN) with valuable support from the eThekwini Municipality. – Caroline Smart