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Friday, September 4, 2015


(Lorin Sookool in the solo work, “Sex and Cigarettes”. Pic by Val Adamson)

Probing a youth’s perspective. (Review by Vedarsha Singh)

This year’s Jomba! Fringe programme was a truly remarkable space that showcased the depth and creativity of our youth. The one night only affair was clearly highly anticipated as the eight dance theatre performances were all well-supported.

The word fringe is defined as: “The outer, marginal, or extreme part of an area, group, or sphere of activity.” It can be argued that the youth of South Africa occupy the ‘fringe’ of this land. Statistics teach us that currently six out of every ten South Africans between the ages of 18 to 28 are unemployed.  The result is a mire of frustration and the root of many social ills as they experience a great deal of exclusion on a daily basis.

Lliane Loots, artistic director of The Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience and Flatfoot Dance Company, has tirelessly worked in many communities around the country to address such issues, championing the cause of creating a more inclusive space for young lives to engage and express with that which is personal, and thus highly political. Year in, year out she provides a professional platform for young choreographers to flex their muscles, weave their tapestries and hone their skills as contemporary dance theatre makers.

A stand-out performance and one that encapsulated the overall atmosphere of the evening’s programme was a haunting, angst-ridden solo performed by Lorin Sookool. Dissecting her mental state through this personal, multi-faceted and imagistic approach, Sex and Cigarettes allowed for the collision of film and dance, the conscious and the unconscious, the past and the present. Her feet and arms writhing coupled with an impressive ability to isolate movements unearthed a myriad of questions around the pain relating to personal transformation. An answer is that perhaps, it is only ourselves who create interferences that prevent us from reaching our true potential.

Removing layers, stripping to the bare essentials of human emotion and unapologetically telling your story was an ongoing theme at this year’s Jomba! Fringe.

This was also evident in the KZN Dance Productions NPC piece entitled Two Minutes of Nothing to the Wind. Choreographed by Sandile Mkhize, elements of contact improvisation, spoken word, humour and horror amalgamated to leave a convulsing feeling in the pit of stomachs of those who witnessed. The prowess of the dancers was clear to see. However, I do feel that that the lighting state of this particular piece didn’t do too many favours to the speaking bodies and the festival photographer Val Adamson.

The 2015 edition of the Jomba! Fringe proved once again that when given the space, the indomitable spirit of the youth can also successfully create dialogues to inspire and galvanize transformation.  – Vedarsha Singh