The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre was packed to capacity for the opening night of the 14th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience presented by UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) with principal funding from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.

Artistic Director and Performing Arts lecturer at UKZN, Ms Lliane Loots, brought the audience up to date on the “normative” path that defines the arts and culture landscape in South Africa.

‘Eighteen years into our democracy, I feel like we – as artists - are on the front line again. While we might not be facing riot police and bullets like other workers in our country, we as artists face the pervasive lack of care and absence of a remembered political history, which, like a bullet into an angry mob, is as silencing and as violent,’ said Loots.

It was essential for the arts in a continent like Africa that ‘we understand growth in a more profound way while not losing sight of the “cultural economy” of human rights practices.

‘I ask that we come back to an understanding – in this renewed war zone that asks us to dodge the bullets of our cultural and artistic extinction – that our humanity demands lucid and critical memory and reflection, which for me, is the highest calling any artist and choreographer in Africa can heed. We cannot consent to anything less.’

The act for the night featured dancers from the Flatfoot Dance Company and Ensemble BATIDA who performed A Spring (two) matter, which is the music and story of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, part of collective memory for dancers and musicians over the past 100 years.

It tells of the struggle between the positive and the negative human being in thinking and acting; two opposites that battle each other, trying to blend and exist peacefully, or convincing one another to aim for a better co-existence.

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