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Amawethu dance piece – conceived, choreographed and directed by award-winning dancer and choreographer Luyanda Sidiya, assisted by Phumlani Nyanga – looks forward to reconnecting audiences with their origins when it shows at the South African State Theatre from 18 to 28 July.
Amawethu tells a human story that seeks to reclaim who we are as a people from our cultures and customs and corrects the distortions that pre-date the African slave trade that led many to believe that African spirituality had a demonic, pagan, uncivilized, barbaric and godless origin. The work features dancers, Tholakele Nkala, Steven Chauke, Phumlani Mndebele, Xolisile Bongwana, Julia Burnham, Kwazi Madlala, Thulisile Binda, and Sibonele Mchunu.
Amawethu was amongst five productions listed by State Theatre for the National Arts Festival in Makhanda this year. It was featured in the Main Programme of the festival. The production is presented in collaboration with Luthando Arts Academy.
Sidiya comments on the motive behind the work: “Amawethu aims to create a system for the black child to appreciate and learn more about who he or she is. We seek to enact the wealth of character long lost in our customs and our way of life. I have a great fascination with the beauty of who and what we are. I am also inspired by people who came before me.”
Sidiya is the co-founder of Luthando Arts Academy in Sebokeng where he grew up. As a teacher and choreographer, his work aims to deepen an understanding and appreciation of African and contemporary dance and music. He is the 2015 Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance.
Amawethu will preview on Thursday ahead of its opening on Friday night, 19 August 2019. Tickets are R110-R120 online on Webtickets (www.webtickets.co.za) and over the counter at Pick n Pay stores nationwide.