national Arts Festival Banner

Thursday, June 27, 2024



(Robyn Orlin © Jérôme Séron)

Veteran South African dance-maker, Robyn Orlin, named the 2024 JOMBA! LEGACY ARTIST

The 26th annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, hosted by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts, has announced that it will honour veteran South African dance-maker Robyn Orlin as the 2024 JOMBA! Legacy Artist.

Orlin’s work we wear our wheels with pride and slap your streets with colour… we said ‘bonjour’ to satan in 1820 … will feature at JOMBA! which takes place at The Sneddon Theatre in Durban from August 27 to September 8, with a satellite festival at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg from 11 to 14 September 2024.

Originally created in 2021 we wear our wheels  is a collaboration with Johannesburg based Moving into Dance. This is a work that negotiates the complicated Durban rickshaw histories – and it finally comes to Durban.

Born in 1955 Johannesburg, Orlin’s vision of contemporary dance continues to be a kind of aesthetic eclecticism where she draws heavily on her own histories of ballet and modern, and a fascination with film and cinema. She has shifted the boundaries of what we consider dance to be, often falling into witty and biting political satire. Her love of kitsch, tutus and yellow plastic ducks has seen her creating iconic images that still haunt a South African dance landscape.

Orlin was trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance (1975-1980), then at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1990-1995). She began her career as a dancer, choreographer and teacher in South Africa, where she was quickly spotted, as much for the singularity of her dance making, as for the chaos that reigns in her creations.

Her (multiple prize-winning) dance piece Daddy, I have seen this piece six times before and I still don’t know why they’re hurting each other, which mocks the difficulties and shortcomings of the young rainbow nation, but also classical ballet as a trajectory of discrimination, enabled her to tour in Europe and brought her international recognition.

France has since become a creative territory for her and she has made her first film, Hidden Beauties, Dirty Stories (Ina/Arte, 2004), her first opera, Handel’s L’Allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato (Opéra Garnier, Paris, 2007), and her first theatre production, Les Bonnes, by Jean Genet (Théâtre de la Bastille, Paris, 2019) in France. She continues to create work in South Africa.

Artistic Director and curator, Lliane Loots says, “The JOMBA! festival’s 2024 overall curatorial theme and provocation is “the memory of home” and we can think of no South African artist better suited to unpack both the simplicity and complexity of this in her work. Memories are about history, belonging, sometimes suffocating nostalgia, and maybe also about charting new futures … Robyn’s work is all of this and more.

“Orlin’s work has not been performed in South Africa for many years, and so it is with great thanks for the support from IFAS (Paris) and IFAS (Johannesburg), that JOMBA! welcomes her back to South Africa as our 2024 JOMBA! Legacy artist.”

JOMBA! takes place at The Sneddon Theatre in Durban from August 27 to September 8, and the satellite festival takes place at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg from September 11 to 14, 2024.

we wear our wheels …  will be performed on September 7 and 8 in Durban and on September 11 and 12 at The Market in Johannesburg.

For more information go to

To link to the Centre for Creative Arts, click on the advert to the right of this article.