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Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Dancers create with differently abled when Flatfoot Dance Company and INTRODANS collaborate with Downs Syndrome dancers.

Durban-based Flatfoot Dance Company and Adriaan Luteijn from the Netherlands-based INTRODANS Dance Company, with four dancers with Downs Syndrome, are blazing a trail for dance in South Africa, with their performance of “Cardiac Output” at this year’s 19th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance on September 3.

The four young adult dancers with Downs Syndrome, Kevin Govender and Michaela Munro (both from Queensburgh), Charles Phillips (from Westville) and Karl Hebbelmann (from Pinetown), who auditioned earlier this year, have been working regularly over the last five months with Flatfoot dancers Thobile Maphanga, Sifiso Khumalo, Zihle Nzama and Jabu Siphika, and then intensely for the last three weeks with Luteijn.

‘We have been working with the Durban Downs Syndrome Society initially to audition dancers for this work, but also to develop a relationship with dancers who want to perform and create,” says Lliane Loots, Artistic Director of JOMBA! and the Flatfoot Dance Company. “This is an art project, not a therapy project. It is a project in which these dancers have made a commitment to making a profound piece of art. A meaningful work of art that can make a difference to us all. One that challenges the societal norms of who has access to create and who does not. We are all deeply excited about the work. It has been life-changing for us all and we look forward to seeing it performed in front of an audience on Sunday.”

Choreography is by Adriaan Luteijn, artistic manager of INTRODANS’s educational department, Introdans Interactie. He is known for his work that explores and extends the usual expectations of art by working with elderly dancers, autistic dancers and others in an effort to “involve as many people as possible to the art of modern dance, not only for people who can find their way easily to the theatre, but for those that cannot”.

Luteijn says that professional dancers learn so much about themselves and their artform by dancing with people who are differently abled, and vice versa. “It is amazing to see how our guest dancers grow stronger in their self-confidence and, of course, the audience applause does the rest.”

The medical term “cardiac output” is used for the amount of blood pumped through the heart per minute. The choreography is about matters of the human heart which can influence the cardiac output. The first version of Cardiac Output premiered in March last year in Amsterdam.

Cardiac Output will close this year’s JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience on September 3 at 18h00 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, UKZN. Tickets are available at Computicket or at the door.