24th JOMBA! Live Opening Night Returns to Sneddon Theatre
After two years of online performances, the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience returned “home”- and UKZN’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre was packed to capacity for the opening night occasion.
One of the few remaining contemporary dance festivals in South Africa, JOMBA! features performances over two weeks; offering dancers, choreographers and the public an opportunity to engage in workshops, discussions and master classes.
Artistic Director and dance lecturer at the University Dr Lliane Loots delivered a warm keynote address welcoming all dance/arts lovers back “home”, saying this year’s festival was about journeying back in the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre space (open for the first time in three years) to fight political, social, economic, and artistic loneliness.
Said Loots: ‘The curatorial provocation of the 24th JOMBA! is “the (im)possibility of home” where we have set out, through a series of both live and digital performances, workshops, and artistic encounters, to interrogate a series of dance offerings that negotiate heritage, culture, nostalgia, and identity.
‘In the wake of COVID-19, JOMBA! focuses this year on dance makers who, in both big and small ways, use their dance making to interrogate, question and perform a sense of self, a sense of place, and a sense of “other” that reconceptualises ideas of home, belonging, community and, perhaps too, the current impossibility of one fixed sense of home,’ she said.
‘JOMBA! 2022 is honouring artists who pose questions such as: Where is home? Who decides? And, importantly, what are the possibilities for an artistic practice like dance written on, in, and with the body to engage in creating new spaces of both personal and political belonging, and to remember the words of Hannah Arendt, to “add something of one’s own to the common world” and re-imagine community?’
JOMBA! opened with a witty and terrifying performance - Hominal/Xaba - choreographed and performed by Marie-Caroline Hominal of Switzerland and Nelisiwe Xaba of South Africa.
The title of the piece is taken from the names of the performers/choreographers, thus uniting both artists as well as dissolving the very notion of who is the creator. Hominal and Xaba, who studied together in London, always wanted to meet again in a common project and in this work, the two women from different continents and cultures confront their femaleness and look at evolving power relationships.
JOMBA! runs until 11 September at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the Howard College campus.
Tickets for performances at the theatre are R80 reduced to R65 for students, scholars and pensioners. Booking is through Computicket.
For more information and a full downloadable programme, visit https://jomba.ukzn.ac.za/2022-programme/.
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga
Photograph: Val Adamson