Festival to preserve African dance

Thakgatso Setseta

The South African State Theatre presents the 2020 edition of the Kucheza Afrika Festival, scheduled for 2 to 12 April.

  The festival is a continuation of the dance festival which debuted last year under the name Dance Umbrella Africa.

  Inspired by the Swahili meaning of the word dance, Kucheza aims to be a platform to preserve dance in the country and in Africa, and ensure that dancers always have a home at the State Theatre.

  The festival is SAST’s aspiration to continue serving domestic and continental dance communities, as well as a call to action for Africa to converge as one in its diversity.

  The theatre’s artistic director Aubrey Sekhabi said: “We have curated a platform to express the dynamism and uninhibited creative expression that Africa is known for. This dance festival also acknowledges our youth and their acute awareness of the challenges within society and their ability to narrate those stories, with their interpretation of contemporary African dance.”

  The festival has programmed 15 works to be showcased by the world’s most complete dancers and choreographers and the promising ones.

  The programme is in two categories. The Main Programme profiles experienced choreographers; and the Young Artists Programme, is a platform for young dancers.

  Celebrated choreographer Vincent Mantsoe will take audiences through an abstract journey on loneliness in his new solo-piece called Soliidad.

    Lulu Mlangeni, the 2019 Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for dance, will dispel gender stereotypes with a piece titled The Encounter.

  Another activism work is Slave by Levern Botha and Port of Expression Dance Company. Slave is a research-based work aimed at creating awareness on modern slavery.

  From Senegal hails Roger Sarr, who choreographs a self-introspective piece called Beyond an appearance.

  Sarr is featured under the Young Artists Programme with Serge Amoussou-Guenou from Benin; who will present a tribute project called Originally. With it he pays homage to ‘the most powerful king of West Africa in late 19th century,’ King Behanzin of Dahomey, who resisted colonial invasion.

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