UJ Arts & Culture hosts Tribhangi Dance Theatre at UJ Youth Arts Festival

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Tribhangi Dance Theatre, South Africa’s much loved Indian dance company and Washington-based Dakshina/ Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company join forces for three nights of classical-inspired contemporary Indian dance at the UJ Youth Arts Festival.  From 29th to 31st August these two dynamic dance companies will present the mixed bill Pancha Bhuta at the Art Centre Theatre on the University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway Campus.

Pancha Bhuta, in collaboration with Dakshina/Daniel Singh Dance Company of Washington, USA, draws on the similarities of classical Indian dance whilst combining contemporary energy to include dance genres that enrich our experiences and perceptions of life.

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"Elements" choreographed by Jayesperi Moopen with the Tribhangi Dance Theatre in collaboration with the Cape Dance Company. Photograph: John Hogg/Dance Umbrella.
“Elements” choreographed by Jayesperi Moopen with the Tribhangi Dance Theatre in collaboration with the Cape Dance Company. Photograph: John Hogg/Dance Umbrella.

Started in 1989 by Jayesperi Moopen, Tribhangi Dance Theatre has boldly brought a unique combination of Indian, Contemporary, African and Afrofusion dance to stages locally and internationally. The company’s greatest strength has been their ability to work with different genres and to walk around tradition to present work that is challenging in its experimentation and unique in its presentation. Tribhangi Dance Theatre has toured extensively performing in Mauritius, Lesotho, Botswana, Germany, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

“As Tribhangi Dance Theatre celebrates 30 years this year part of our legacy is to continue to inspire, educate and engage with artists and audiences towards building a South Africa that we can all be proud of.  Social cohesion and intercultural dialogue will always remain at the forefront of our work,” says Moopen.

"Elements" choreographed by Jayesperi Moopen with the Tribhangi Dance Theatre in collaboration with the Cape Dance Company. Photograph: John Hogg/Dance Umbrella.
“Elements” choreographed by Jayesperi Moopen with the Tribhangi Dance Theatre in collaboration with the Cape Dance Company. Photograph: John Hogg/Dance Umbrella.

Dakshina Dance Company, one of Washington DC’s leading dance companies,  will be bringing their dynamic style to the UJ stage. The Dakshina/ Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company aim to “explore and present dance in its complexity and multiplicity, celebrating tradition while constantly creating new vocabularies in movement and dance evolving to newer and higher standards.”

Says Daniel Phoenix Singh (Founding Artistic Director of Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company) “The company is honoured to be working with internationally acclaimed choreographer Jayesperi Moopen. She is one of the leading voices anchored in traditions but also finding hybrid vocabularies. One of the goals of both companies, Tribhangi and Dakshina, is to use the arts as a tool for cultural diplomacy and we are excited to launch this international collaboration. We are busy planning Tribhangi visit to Washington DC in 2020 and look forward to dancing in many more projects together.”

Tribhangi Dance Theatre present their new work Pancha Bhutha inspired by the five elements of nature. Pancha Bhutha is choreographed by Moopen and features  Vincent Zwane, Priyadarshni Naidoo, Bongani Nkala, Robin-Lee Delport, Dimakatso Ledwaba, Preshal Pillay, Tebogo Mogotsi, Shavani Pillay, Timeletso Khalane, Mduduzi Buthelezi.
Tribhangi and Dakshina come together in a finale piece choreographed by Jayespri Moopen and drawing on the styles of both companies unique vocabulary of their movement.

"Elements" choreographed by Jayesperi Moopen with the Tribhangi Dance Theatre in collaboration with the Cape Dance Company. Photograph: John Hogg/Dance Umbrella.
“Elements” choreographed by Jayesperi Moopen with the Tribhangi Dance Theatre in collaboration with the Cape Dance Company. Photograph: John Hogg/Dance Umbrella.

Dakshina Dance Company will stage: company choreographer Singh’s Vasanth and Vineeth’s solo Ethanai Bhavam (from the movie Uliyin Osai) danced by Rachel Prem. Ethanai Bhavam is taken from the Indian Tamil period drama Uliyin Osai. Featuring actor and classical dancer Vineeth, Uliyin Osai tells the tale of Iniyan the sculptor who has been chosen to build a temple and is inspired by a young graceful dancer.

Vasanth is the retelling of how Spring returns to earth after years of desolation. In his choreography, Singh combines his love of Modern Dance and Bharata Natyam to create movement that is built on group dynamics and use of space while layering in the fine filigree detail of hand gestures, rhythmic variations, and facial mime that Indian dance is known for.

The work features dynamic animations by Adrian Galvin, lush music and short poetic voiceovers that draw on ancient Sanskrit texts and brings this myth to life with vivid detail. Vasanth is danced Dakshina Company dancers:  Heinz Adjakwah, Miguel Alcantara, Jamal Black, Valerie Branch, Helen Marie Carruthers, Nicole Daniell, Julie DeGregorio, and Rachel Prem.

The performance starts at 19:30 on 29 and 30 August and at 3:00 pm on 31 August and ticket prices are R80 per person, R30 for students, block booking is R50. Tickets can be purchased on arts.uj.ac.za or at the door.

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