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From August 1-12 the Cape Town-based Unmute Dance Company and the Tumbuka Dance Company from Zimbabwe, will be resident at the Dance Space.
Their purpose is to create a new contemporary dance piece.
Supported by an ANT Funding Grant from Pro Helvetia Johannesburg financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Breaking Borders will bring the 2016 Standard Bank Young Artists Award winner for Dance, Themba Mbuli, Mackintosh Jerahuni from Tumbuka and Yaseen Manuel from Unmute Dance Company together to create a work that will interrogate relevant issues facing them today.
The process will focus on the Southern African problem of xenophobia and will begin with the question: “Who am I as a Black person?” The dancers will be asked to access the experience of their sense of family and their family’s history, as a means of mapping the extent of the Bantu family and who this family has grown to include. The second question that will be explored is “What is it to intimately encounter ‘other’?” Dancers often develop intimate relationships around creative expression with one another before they get to know each other socially. They are therefore best placed to enter into this experiment and convey their answers through their bodies to the audiences.
These two questions form the basis of an experimental process that will lead to the devising, and finally to the structuring, of a full length work. Rather than a narrative depiction of the xenophobic problem, they offer an embodied understanding of where they come from and who they could choose to be.
The creative team comprises: Themba Mbuli (Dramaturg and overall direction), an award- winning choreographer, stage designer and performer who obtained his professional training at Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) in 2007; joined the Inzalo Dance and Theatre Company in 2008; worked as a performer, dance teacher and choreographer at MIDM from 2009 to 2010; worked for the French company, Theatre Taliipot (2011-12) and is the co-founder, managing director and choreographer of the Unmute Dance Company.
Mackintosh Jerahuni (choreographer) is an associate artistic director and master teacher for Tumbuka Dance Company in Harare, Zimbabwe who when he was 12, saw his brothers performing, and was inspired to enrol in a Dance Foundation Course. After his graduation he joined Tumbuka Dance Company, the leading contemporary dance company in Zimbabwe and he has been with the Company for the past three years as a dancer, choreographer and teacher.
Yaseen Manuel is a 24-year-old artist who aspires to tell stories through movement, has been dancing since the age of 18. He matriculated in 2009 at Wynberg Senior Secondary as a learner that took dance as a subject. He joined Jazzart Dance Theatre and trained in African contemporary, ballet, gumboot, tap, pantsula, nama, rhythmical dance and music in 2014. In 2015 he joined Unmute Dance Company as a professional dancer exploring new and fresh ways of integrating dance
The producer of the annual Dance Umbrella Festival, Dance Forum, will be assisting with the management and production of the Breaking Borders Project. Dance Forum was established in 2003 as a vehicle to manage various developmental aspects of the professional and non-professional contemporary dance industry in South Africa as well as produce the outcomes of the process.