The Jazzart Dance Theatre last week hosted their annual bursary fund-raiser at the Artscape Theatre and I attended their opening night in the company of an American dancer. She asked whether the theatre was new in Cape Town—my reply about its previous name and history brought home to me just how much the place had evolved—from the Nico Malan, boycotted by much of our population, to its present status in the forefront of promoting the arts and showcasing the talents of all….and also to the mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship between Jazzart and the theatre. We need to thank the foresight of the management of Jazzart and of the theatre when the decision was taken to move Jazzart into the theatre complex—a physical proximity which has generated such fruitful artistic collaboration…
The Jazzart Company gave us ample evidence of just how well they can utilise the venue by starting the evening with a performance staged on the front stairs outside the complex—a perfect setting for the cast to play with fire and its effects and to involve dancers ranged on the steps and amongst the audience. We then followed them and their lanterns into the theatre and settled down to watch an evening of dance provided by the various off-shoots and development programs spawned by the mother company. Just how prolific the “mother” has been is evident by the list of these with the names of the items performed and of the choreographers, mostly all trained by Jazzart.
Jazzart’s Young Adult Training and Job Creation Programme:
“Ukushaya” (Ananda Fuchs) and “Ngafa” (Sbonakaliso Ndaba)
Nyanga Arts Development Centre:
A piece showing what they have learnt this year. (Wendy Thoane)
CYDC 34-18 and Tercia Kindo Arts Project:
“Empty Thoughts” (Gordon Andries and Myziyanda Mancam)
Wynberg Senior Secondary School:
“Limited Space” (Douglas Griffiths)
Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre from Durban:
“Human Ladder” Neliswa Rushualang)
Jazzart Dance Theatre’s professional company.
“Iqiniso” (A collaboration)
Also included in the programme were two members of the Zip Zap Circus who performed impressive aerial choreography on red silks and the Vadhini Indian Arts Academy and Jikeleza Dance Project who brought their seemingly disparate choreographic backgrounds together with an innovative collaboration of styles in “Divinity” by Ina Wichterich-Mogane.
The whole evening was linked together by a pint-sized MC whose confidence belied his age and who was ably assisted by a Jazzart trainee. They had the pleasure of announcing the names of the recipients of the bursaries: for artistic excellence, academic excellence, triumph over adversity and two for the most promising students.
The funds raised by DANSCAPE all go to the Jazzart Bursary Fund which gives much needed financial support to young people who wish to pursue a career in the arts.
My American companion remarked at the vitality of all the dancers—with no exception, every one of them gave full energy and made the most of this fabulous opportunity to dance on the Artscape stage. They also performed with passion and a feeling from within—something which my friend said can be something sorely lacking in some dancers who may have perfect bodies and precise technique but whose performance can lack soul.
However having said that--some of the numbers did get slightly repetitive and more could have been made of patterning and formation. There is much that can be done within the contemporary genre and though some numbers did show innovative juxtapositions of styles, perhaps training in other dance forms and techniques would stand these young dancers in good stead if they are pursuing a career in the arts.
The laudable work of Jazzart and its development programs is highly deserving.
May they go from strength to strength.
DanceDirectory & Jazzart Competition Ticket Winner had this to say...
"The show was fantastic!!!! Will make sure we go again next year. Thank you." - Annalene Kemp
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