national Arts Festival Banner

Monday, October 19, 2015


The Drama and Performance Studies programme of UKZN Pietermaritzburg will present an evening of New Movement: a programme of Contemporary Dance and Physical Theatre performed in three different venues in the Hexagon Complex. The evening promises an exciting and innovative presentation of physical movement and dance in the exploration of various issues and concepts. The programme is directed by Pumelela ‘Push’ Nqelenga with choreography by a selection of postgraduate students. The audience will move through various venues as they experience a New Movement. The four pieces that make up the programme are:

Xeno: Created by Pumelela ‘Push’ Nqelenga and cast with text by Louise Buchler.
Xeno is a physical theatre production that is interested in the construction of otherness. ‘I was curious as to how we develop notions of otherness amongst each other. How do we in intimate spaces shift from familiar to strange?’ says Nqelenga, lecturer in Drama and Performances Studies at UKZN and specialist in physical theatre.

On a socio -political scale, Xenophobia affects all South Africans. Xenophobia is not just an attitude towards immigrants, it is (in most cases) an action of violence (Harris: 2002) towards difference.

She continues: ‘I wanted to deconstruct this word and its meaning in Xeno. Before we fear, we first identify what is foreign and in doing so we begin to associate ‘foreign’ with danger, hate and violence. How do we get there? Why does fear surface when we experience difference?’

Xeno is located in the social, the personal and in dance language. Xeno is in strangeness and manifests in the spaces of uncertainty and difference. There is an attempt in Xeno, to take different mediums; body, sound, text and language, placed them together in a space where they can disrupt each other and in doing still be...OK. “Xeno is an organic production. It is a research of us and how our bodies react to foreign experiences. Xeno is political and absolutely personal,” adds Nqelenga.

Emb[RACE]: Choreographed by JC Zondi
“On a whole day trip to the National Arts Festival in 2014, I experienced a different emotional side of my male friends. six males sang BeyoncĂ© songs, reminisced about old times, danced and shared their feelings,” says choreographer JC Zondi. “On this trip I experienced the concerns that males shared, and the humour that is common to them. However I also saw the recklessness of males. How they succumb to peer pressure. It is all of this that inspired me to devise a work about the feminine side of the male.”

This work looks at the stereotypical generalisation of the emotionally constipated male. It looks at vulnerability, grace, humour, tenderness and insecurities of the male person. Should he embrace his feminine side? Exploring contrasting emotions, the piece ask questions such as: Should men hug each other? Stare at each other in the eyes past an amount of time? Admire each other’s looks? Talk while peeing? Who writes the rules, and why are they so easily accepted by men.

Silent Cries: Choreographed by: Brenda Cele
Human trafficking is a worldwide crime which is not as highly recognized as other criminal activities such as prostitution, drug dealing, abuse and rape, but the trade can be seen as an instigator of many of these. Human trafficking is a conglomerate of drug dealing, abuse, rape and prostitution. Corruption is at the centre of this trade which is thriving and progressing annually. Trafficking is a lucrative industry representing an estimated 32billion per year in international trade. Mexico, Brazil, India and Africa are some of the leading areas in this trade.

Silent Cries looks at the dynamics of this issue particularly focusing on how females are affected. The aim of this piece is to make the audience aware of human trafficking and raises the questions: Who should be helping the victims of those who are human trafficked? Is it the family? Community or government? It hopes to create an urgency about this issue, and provoke the audience to act.

5th Element: Choreographed by Brandon Bosch
“Existence is movement. Action is movement. Existence is defined by the rhythm of forces in natural balance. (...) It is our appreciation for dance that allows us to see clearly the rhythms of nature and to take natural rhythm to a plane of well-organised art and culture.” Rudolf Laban

We are all aware of the four natural elements that ‘govern’ life, but what happens when you combine these elements: earth, air, water and fire? 5th Element is an experimental movement venture that explores the search for the individual self, through modern contemporary dance and fragmented movement. This work attempts to explore the idea of the feminine body verses the masculine, showing how society perceives the female form. But what if the roles are reversed? It is this idea that creates the Ether, the universe, a personal universe of an individual self, discovering and journeying through one’s own abilities while working with forces that can either break down or build up the individual being.

New Movement runs on October 22 and 23 at 18h00 at the Hexagon Theatre on the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus. Performances are free.