The 29th Dance Umbrella festival is in full swing at the Wits Theatre Complex, Braamfontein where 50 new works are being presented until March 5, 2017. The performances on Saturday, March 4 at 9pm and Sunday March 5 at 3.30pm are sold out and an extra performance on Sunday, March 5 at 2pm has been added.

The festival incorporates a series of master classes at the Dance Space, Newtown and the popular Face to Face conversations with choreographers.

Moving Into Dance Mophatong with musician Matthew MacFarlane in Sunnyboy Motau's 'I am NoT' at the Wits Theatre
Moving Into Dance Mophatong with musician Matthew MacFarlane in Sunnyboy Motau's 'I am NoT' at the Wits Theatre
Image: Herman Verwey

Here's what not to miss:

Tuesday, February 28 and Wednesday, March 1

Wits Theatre, 7pm: a triple bill featuring new work by Moving into Dance Mophatong’s Oscar Buthelezi and Sunnyboy Motau (read our interviewStuck Souls reflects on the world today as it becomes lost in waste and asks “How do we stop this?” and I am NoT… speaking to self-discovery and venturing into new and unknown spaces within ourselves. Vuyani Dance Theatre’s Lulu Mlangeni performs the solo Page 27.

Wits Downstairs Theatre, 8pm: Songezo Mcilizeli premieres Perspective, in which he uses the body to recreate imagery along socio-political themes.

Wits Amphitheatre, 9pm: Dawn, by the Katlehong-based choreographer Lucky Kele, was originally created at a cultural exchange in Abidjan, involving artists from Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and South Africa.   


LADY LADY by Gaby Saranouffi, Desiré Davids and Edna Jaime in the Wits Theatre
LADY LADY by Gaby Saranouffi, Desiré Davids and Edna Jaime in the Wits Theatre
Image: Val Adamson

Thursday and Friday, March 2 and 3

Wits Amphitheatre, 7pm: Fana Tshabalala presents In The Heart of the Country, a collaboration with Constanza Macras/Dorky Park from Berlin, Germany. It is a physical exploration inspired by the “impossible dialogue” between blacks and whites as detailed in JM Coetzee’s literature and Njabulo Ndebele’s book, Rediscovery of the Ordinary.

Wits Theatre, 8pm: Gaby Saranouffi (Madagascar), Desiré Davids (South Africa) and Edna Jaime (Mozambique) present LADY, LADY in which they share, search, explore and exchange their realities in order to give voice to various commonalities, challenges and images.

The Nunnery at 9pm: Down to Earth by Kieron Jina and Marc Philipp Gabriel deals with constructed identities that are shaped by more and more complex constellations, rather than geographical origins and social upbringing.


Friday and Saturday, March 3 and 4

Wits Downstairs Theatre, 6pm: Detritus for One by Alan Parker, a physical theatre solo work with design by Gavin Krastin explores the notion of “performing the archive” and the potential ways in which performance can be used to archive past dance works for an audience in the present.


WHEN THEY LEAVE is a triple bill by Kirvan Fortuin at the Wits Theatre
WHEN THEY LEAVE is a triple bill by Kirvan Fortuin at the Wits Theatre
Image: Joshua Walter

Saturday and Sunday, March 4 and 5

Wits Theatre, Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 2.30pm: Cape Town choreographer Kirvan Fortuin, who has also worked in the Netherlands, will present When They Leave, a triple bill of work described as technical, high-pitched and creative in unusual ways.

The Nunnery, 2pm: Tutu by Tamara Osso explores the choreographer’s white identity in relation to other identities (be they apparent or ephemeral).


Dance Umbrella 2017 is funded by the Mzansi Golden Economy Fund, Department of Arts and Culture; the Gauteng Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation, and the National Arts Council. Other partners include the French Institute of South Africa; Goethe-Institut Johannesburg; Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia; Splitbeam; Outreach Foundation; Wits Theatre and Creative Feel Magazine.

Tickets from R20 to R120 are available from the Computicket website or on 0839158000 or call 0114922033 to reserve tickets. Click here for programme updates.

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