Signatures, the theme for this year’s Vuyani Week programme, will showcase the artistic signatures of seasoned dancers and their outreach protégés.
Vuyani Dance Theatre’s annual showcase of professional, emerging and youthful talent – to be staged at the John Kani Theatre at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre over the weekend of 2 to 4 December 2016 – will be bigger and bolder than before, thanks to a grant from the National Lotteries Commission.
Explains Vuyani Executive Creative Director Gregory Maqoma: “Vuyani Week forms the heart of VDT’s outreach culture. This annual production gives our dancers a platform to showcase what they have spent the year teaching to young kids in schools. Vuyani Week is a way of introducing theatrical culture to younger generations who would usually not have this opportunity.”
This year’s jam-packed Signatures season brings together dance trainees, the company’s dancers and the learners they mentor at various local schools. Artists with distinct personal creative signatures will reimagine historical works to be performed by a new generation of dancers at these family-friendly performances.
The programme features Rhythm Colour, one of Maqoma’s “signature” works from 2002 themed around the 1976 Soweto student uprisings. This evocative piece was re-mounted earlier this year at the Soweto Theatre to mark 40 years since the landmark protests, with a new generation of Vuyani dancers taking the baton, and will be performed during Vuyani Week by outreach protégés.
Another highlight is Vincent Mantsoe’s iconic “pigeon” work Gula, which will be interpreted by sensational young Vuyani dancer and choreographer Phumlani Nyanga. He will be presenting Gula fresh from performing the work at a festival in Burkina Faso at the end of November.
In keeping with the SIGNATURES theme, Lulu Mlangeni’s Page 27 will be performed by the trainees, a new cluster of dancers under Vuyani’s in-house training programme. Page 27, which premiered at the Market Theatre last year and has also been performed at the Afrovibes and SANAA arts festivals, interrogates social issues such as gender inequality.
The programme also includes Julia Burnham’s new work, Something Black and Yellow, a duet performed by two of Vuyani’s female dancers: Lulu Mlangeni and Sinazo Bokolo.
Says Burnham: “I was inspired to do this work from personal past experiences, which raised questions about why I had to go through things in my relationships and how that has personally influenced my character to what it is now. This includes my work, family, friendship and love relationships.”
Nyanga’s work Beyond will be performed by four male Vuyani dancers: Xolisile Bongwana, Kwazi Madlala, Otto Nhlapo and Phumlani Mndebele. This work is about understanding a relationship that is beyond our physical comprehension but has a huge influence on our daily lives.
The final day of the programme, on Sunday 4 December 2016, will feature performances by Vuyani’s outreach protégés, mentored by the company’s gifted dancer-choreogreographers.
Adds Maqoma: “Vuyani Dance Theatre is grateful for the National Lotteries Commission’s support in recognising the need to develop new emerging choreographic voices, as well as the need to provide a professional setting for emerging dancers through our training and outreach programmes.”
“Vuyani Week is a family-oriented event that is also about discovering talent. More importantly, it gives young dancers an opportunity to perform on world-acclaimed stages like the John Kani at the Market Theatre.”
SIGNATURES WEEKEND PROGRAMME – MARKET THEATRE:
Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3, at 20h00
– SOMETHING BLACK AND YELLOW
– PAGE 27
Sunday, December 4, at 14:30
– RHYTHM COLOUR
– PAGE 27
Tickets for each performance cost R120 and are available through Webtickets or at the door.
Vuyani Week’s Signatures programme is made possible with support from the National Lotteries Commission and media partner Creative Feel magazine.