PHYSICAL ENCOUNTERS IN THE DIGITAL FRONTIER
By Thobile Maphanga
The 22nd JOMBA ! Contemporary Dance Experience, like everything else, has had to stop, re-figure and negotiate its survival in the current global pandemic. As most things fighting to stay alive, the organisers and dancers, in observing precautionary regulations have gone digital.
This year’s programme, that boasts seven platforms, is bursting with echoes of the past and glimpses into the future. Opening on Tuesday, 25 August at 7pm, nine KZN-based commissioned dance works will premiere on the JOMBA! Digital Edge programme. Themed ‘Intimacies of Isolation’, this programme of short dance films straddles the vastness of uncertainty, isolation and contemplation brought on during this time.
The Legacy Platform reaches into the festival’s memory bringing back iconic dancemakers from four continents that have illuminated the JOMBA! Stage in the past. Celebrating women’s month in South Africa this platform fittingly showcases work by Germaine Acogny, who is considered the Mother of Contemporary Dance in Africa and the controversial Robyn Orlin.
Resident JOMBA! Photographer, Val Adamson pulls focus with a digital exhibition: JOMBA! Through the lens, showcasing her 21-years behind the lens for JOMBA!
The USA Dance on Screen platform threads together a selection of ten dance films that amplify the marginalised voices and experiences of contemporary America.
Digital JOMBA! Fringe, the open entry platform, includes entries from the continent that we might not have seen had the festival been live, with entries from Uganda and Madagascar screened alongside a variety of local input.
Dance in the Digital Age draws us into conversations that hint at the future with four dance-makers showcasing short works and engaging in discussions about dance-making in lockdown.
The JOMBA! Khuluma, a closed dance review writing residency programme, will keep audiences updated with daily reviews posted to the JOMBA! Khuluma Blog platform (https://medium.com/@JombaDance) culminating in a digital publication (JOMBA! Khuluma D!g!tal) released after the festival. Through this platform, writers from three continents will engage and review all the platforms to document the first ever digital JOMBA!
This annual contemporary dance festival, that has for the past 21 years responded to the ever-shifting climate of our world, continues to do just that. Finding its new legs and extending into the online world it brings the same promise of meaningful engagement of the body to provoke thought and shift sensibilities as it adapts to the ‘new normal’ on a global scale.
JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience is brought to you for FREE by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Centre for the Creative Arts from the 25th August to 6th September 2020. Visit the JOMBA! website for information on the festival programme and screening times for the various festival platforms and events.
To stream festival events, visit https://jomba.ukzn.ac.za/whats-on-today/ or follow the YouTube link there and subscribe to our channel.