By CityLife Arts Writer
The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s School of the Arts, in partnership with the Mellon Foundation’s Artist in Residence programme, is delighted to welcome Cape Town dancer and choreographer Yaseen Manuel who will be spending three months working in conjunction with the Centre for Creative Arts’ 23rJOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, and the Drama and Performance Studies Programme.
In a really difficult time for any embodied practice, with the need for social distancing and safe ways of working, Manuel will be using the Mellon residency to create two screen dance films that will premiere at JOMBA!’s second digital iteration of its festival in late August. For this, he will be working with Durban’s much-loved FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY – and in an interesting interplay of digital on-line engagements. He will also be hosting workshops and discussion sessions/seminars via zoom with UKZN’s dance students over his three-month residency.
Manuel’’ own Cape Town history and personal Muslim spirituality and legacy features prominently in his work. The South African dance community sat up and took notice of his work when he began a series of solos in 2016/17 that connected race, religion and ideas of masculinity in choreographed evocations of deeply neglected stories and identities in the South African landscape. His recent 2019 dance work “ASLAMA”, linked the Syrian massacre to a more internal battle for self and identity that was both terrifying and beautiful!
He is a skilled dancer and teacher and while he works as an independent artist, he is also a member of the ground-breaking integrated dance company UNMUTE DANCE COMPANY. Dr Lliane Loots, artistic director and curator of the CCA’s JOMBA! festival says that she is “delighted – at this very difficult time for dance – to open space to feature one of South Africa’s most original dance-making voices and the reminder he offers, of yet still untold and underrepresented stories in our country”.
Catch the premiere of Yaseen Manuel’s screen dance films at JOMBA! which will take place on-line from 24 August to 5 September. Access to on-line viewing is free. Subscribe to the JOMBA Youtube channel here :https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN9cM0WFw5j2QnYSbk1Zu6Q