Dance Lecturer Receives Award from French Government
Drama and Performance Studies lecturer at UKZN’s School of Arts, Ms Lliane Loots, received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government during a presentation at Alliance Française in Durban.
Loots, who said it was an honour to be recognised for her hard work, accepted the award on behalf of all the people she has worked with.
‘It felt good to be recognised. It was like I was accepting this award on behalf of a lifetime of working with wonderful students, professional dancers and community based programmes, all of whom have helped by participating with their blood, sweat and tears. So, in many ways, this medal of recognition is shared by all of us,’ said Loots.
The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is a medal of honour in recognition of significant contributions to the Arts and the propagation of the Arts. The award is considered a knighthood by the French government, given to those who have, through their on-going work, supported the partnership with French and Francophone African artists. Only three such medals have been awarded in South Africa this year.
Loots believes that contemporary dance continues to be the most controversial and most cutting-edge art form in South Africa. The body politics engaged by dance makers is at the forefront of the decolonising movement and the Art form’s ability to viscerally express the underbelly of our society.
‘The power of self-expression through dance in a proclaimed democracy should never be underestimated,’ she said.
‘I love watching how first-year students begin to open their minds, bodies and hearts to the possibility of dance and then participate in their personal growth so that by third year or honours, they are dedicated adults who understand the power of theatre, dance and performance.’
Apart from her UKZN teaching and research, Loots has been running the FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY for 22 years. Her work with FLATFOOT – in the arena of African dance pedagogy and dance performance and choreography - is the subject of her on-going PhD research.
She is also the Artistic Director for UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience.
For the upcoming 19th edition of JOMBA! in August, Loots is currently partnering with a Dutch dance company. ‘I am working on a collaboration with INTRODANS who are jointly working with intellectually and physically impaired Durban dancers in a new work that will premiere at the CCA’s 19th edition of JOMBA!,’ added Loots.