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Thursday, January 25, 2018


(Jürg Koch)

Flatfoot Dance Company hosts Swiss choreographer in a groundbreaking exchange that opens up challenges within dance, diversity and disability!

In an exchange that has taken almost two years to set up, Swiss choreographer Jürg Koch, has arrived in Durban to work with Flatfoot Dance Company and various local guest dancers in an unprecedented exchange. With support funding by Pro Helvetia, Jürg is spending three weeks in Durban to explore dance teaching and choreographic practices that are based on ideas of diversity especially as they relate to the inclusion of differently abled dancers into mainstream theatre dance.

Koch’s own dance history has seen him work extensively with UK based CandoCo – Europe’s first professional integrated dance company working with dancers with disability. He taught, for ten years, at the University of Washington (Seattle) before heading back home to Switzerland and the city of Bern, where he now works as a freelance teacher and choreographer.

His connection with Flatfoot is a natural fit as Flatfoot’s own integrated youth dance work, spanning over 10 years, has been seminal in shifting national perceptions around who can dance. Flatfoot’s mandate to open up access to dance and the arts, has seen them work in conjunction with the Open Air School in a youth dance programme called LeftFeetFIRST!, and more recently they have started South Africa’s first Down syndrome youth dance company.

In a three-way collaboration, Koch and Flatfoot are also joined by the Wentworth Arts and Culture Organisation’s (WACO) Dance Movement headed by Jarryd Watson. The final outcome of this exploratory dance residency will be on show at the Loft Theatre on February 1 at 17h00. Tickets are limited and so booking is essential. Tickets can be booked by calling 082 875 6065.

This final performance is also the culmination of a two day colloquium that Flatfoot’s artistic director, Lliane Loots, has set-up to coincide with Koch’s visit. Loots, working in association with The Playhouse Company, has created a two-day feast for dance teachers and performers to allow further exploration of the politics and practice of integrated dance practice. This colloquium features special guests, Unmute Dance Company (Cape Town), Dr Gerard Samuel (UCT), Moving Into Dance (Johannesburg), Gladys Agulhas (Johannesburg) and disability activist and filmmaker Liza Aziz (amongst others).

Loots says that the intention of the colloquium is to “push the shared knowledge and practice-based learning around integrated and disability dance in South Africa - with a focus on revising the idea of dance as a tool for ‘living democracy’ - a term that Flatfoot Dance Company uses to describe its impulses in dance education and community dance engagements”. She goes on to say that integrated dance “is also a growing impulse towards diversity in terms of performance  practice and the hope is that we are all challenged to think bigger and more inclusively”.

The colloquium takes place at The Playhouse Complex on January 31 and February 1 and costs R300 (lunch and tea included). Limited places available and booking essential: 082 875 6065.