Come Dance In Africa at the Indian Experience Festival

JOHANNESBURG – Dance lovers can look forward to two exciting works as part of the Shared History – The Indian Experience Festival this month.

World-renowned classical dancer and choreographer Vijayalakshmi’s new choreographic work, Swan Lake in Mohiniyattam, runs from 8 to 12 September and accomplished local dancer, teacher and choreographer Jayesperi Moopen’s From Canefields to Freedom, from 14 to 16 September at The Dance Factory, Newtown, Johannesburg.

Swan Lake in Mohiniyattam

The Shared History Dance programme forms part of the 2010 Joburg Arts Alive International Festival.

The High Commission of India in South Africa and Teamwork Productions is proud to present the fourth edition of the Shared History – The Indian Experience Festival, 2010, a celebration of contemporary and classical music, dance, theatre, visual art, film, food and literature.

The Festival commemorates the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first indentured Indians in South Africa and showcases the finest that the culture has to offer with performances presented in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg and Pretoria from 20 August until 30 September 2010.

Swan Lake in Mohiniyattam, inspired by Tchaikovsky’s celebrated composition, marks the coming together of two great classical traditions. Vijayalakshmi uses the Indian Classical Dance tradition from Kerala, known as Mohiniyattam, to interpret the music of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake: the alluring beauty of Mohiniyattam blends seamlessly with the lyrical and dramatic music of the famous Russian ballet.

Vijayalakshmi, recognised as one of the leading performers and choreographers of Mohiniyattam today, has taken this ancient dance form to higher levels by constantly exploring uncharted territories and expanding traditional boundaries. In this production she explores the quintessential feminine qualities of grace and beauty. The recipient of several prestigious awards she has performed extensively around the globe, including the Edinburgh International Festival, Lincoln Centre, NY and the Bolshoi Theatre, Russia.

Vijayalakshmi conceived and adapted this in collaboration with her mother and guru, Bharati Shivaji and Santosh Nair and premiered the work at the Bolshoi Theatre in Russia.

The production has received rave reviews across the globe and is a definite must-see on the local Dance calendar.

Swan Lake in Mohiniyattam then moves to The Playhouse Company, Durban from 16 to 19 September.

From 14 to 16 September, again at The Dance Factory, the acclaimed South African dance company Tribhangi Dance Theatre with the commissioned production From Canefields to Freedom, takes to the stage.

Local cutting- edge choreography holds its own alongside the international dance company with Jayesperi Moopen’s new work, a dance drama that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Indian indentured labourers in South Africa.

“The aim of the production is to provide a brief chronicle of Indian South African life through dance, music, drama and visual footage which attempts to span significant events that shaped the lives we have today”, says Artistic director Moopen.

The information used by her to write this new work was garnered from books written by Uma Dhupelia-Mesthrie and Dr Ashwin Desai.

The cast of 16 comprises company dancers, Priya Naidoo, Nhlanhla Zwane, Mxolisi Ngwenya, Tebogo Matlaila, Bavani Katha, Maseng Mamabolo, Sibusiso Kubeka, Devan Moonsamy and junior Dancers from Moving into Dance Mophatong.

The Shared History Festival was initiated three years ago and has become a brand in its own right and is seen as an integral part of the South African cultural calendar.

The Shared History Festival is sponsored by the City of Johannesburg, Arts Alive, eThekwini Municipality, First National Bank (FNB), Jet Airways, Jindal, ICCR and Incredible India.
The Consulate in Johannesburg works to promote connectivity between the people of India and South Africa, through its cultural centre, consular work and commercial services.

Teamwork Productions (South Africa) produces 15 annual festivals across the world and works in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK, Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands, Germany and the USA.

The Joburg Arts Alive International Festival 2010 is produced and managed for the City of Joburg by Zanusi Brand Solutions. This leading 100% black-owned branding consulting firm took over the Joburg Arts Alive International Festival in 2009 bringing Zanusi’s award-winning integrated brand solutions approach to the project with significant success.