12 April 2024

JOBURG MOVES Dance Season set to kick off at UJ Arts & Culture

Submitted by: MyPressportal Team
JOBURG MOVES Dance Season set to kick off at UJ Arts & Culture

The University of Johannesburg’s Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA), is thrilled to announce the launch of JOBURG MOVES Dance Season curated and coordinated by choreographer and director, Lesego van Niekerk.   

The dance season, created in the style of a Fringe platform will take place from 23 to 26 April 2024 at the UJ Arts & Culture Centre and will feature performances including Ukukhanya Kwenyanga: A Moonlight Waltz, choreographed by Craig Pedro from Joburg Ballet, Umthombo & Baobab, choreographed by Sunnyboy Motau and Sylvia Glasser from Moving into Dance (MID), Evelyn , choreographed by Smangaliso Ngwenya as well as Petticoat Princess, choreographed by Thamsanqa Tshabalala.

Furthermore, the dance season will include an exhibition showcase by David April as well as an array of masterclasses facilitated by Sonya Radebe, Roseline Wilkens and panel discussions supported by the STAND Foundation, ASSITEJ South Africa and the South African Dance Alliance.  

UJ Arts & Culture is invested in supporting and rebuilding the Johannesburg dance community, re-energising audiences, and celebrating the world-class dance that the city has always produced. “Active engagement and audience building is essential for the dance and theatre sector to flourish in South Africa. JOBURG MOVES aims to do just that by fostering a sense of community, collaboration and collective participation,” says van Niekerk. “Moreover, this platform will introduce existing audiences to new dimensions and avenues of Johannesburg dance, enriching their overall cultural experience.” 

As mentioned above, the season will include a diverse range of dance companies, independent choreographers, artists, and organisations offering a rich tapestry of performances, a dance photography exhibition, masterclasses, workshops and an array of panel discussions. With a strong emphasis on inclusivity while targeting youth and educational establishments, JOBURG MOVES will provide young talent with the opportunity to connect with industry leaders, to showcase their skills, and to immerse themselves in Johannesburg’s vibrant dance scene. 

Marketing Manager of UJ Arts & Culture, Lakin Morgan-Baatjies says, “It is our collective responsibility to create, maintain and sustain a vibrant and engaged audience for dance that will support a revived passion for dance in the city.”

Join us at the JOBURG MOVES Dance Season opening Tuesday 23 April to Friday 26 April 2024 at the UJ Arts Centre as we celebrate and reignite the spirit of dance and creativity.  

Tickets are available at: https://uj.plankton.mobi/Events/EventBooking/7c93787c-cc50-4240-940e-f189d7c6e697  

Moving into Dance will be showcasing UMTHOMBO choreographed by Sunnyboy Motau as well as BAOBAB choreographed by Sylvia Glasser. 

UMTHOMBO means “The Source” (“where the navel is” or birthplace). This work speaks to the place of origin, where our learning began, the source from which we drank and grew. It is a reminder to never forget where we started, what our beginnings were, and in reflection celebrate our journey and progression. 

Drawing on the unique distorted physical appearance of the BAOBAB tree, this work speaks to unconventional beauty and strength. With deep roots and its ability to thrive in the most adverse conditions; the Baobab has been called the “Tree of Life” and is symbolic of the strength of African women who also have managed to thrive in the most dire of situations, deeply embedding their roots, bringing hope and life to generations to come. 

EVELYN is choreographed and performed by Smangaliso Ngwenya under the artistic direction of David April. It embodies the essence of motherhood, nurturing, home, and spirit. Evelyn is an unbound dance, an encounter, and a conversation between Smangaliso Ngwenya and his beloved mother, an emboldened reconnection with her from a dimension and realm beyond this one but is present in all realm. The dance never stops! 

A reimagination of a captivating woman of courage, Sabina Chebichi. A former Kenyan middle-distance runner, marking her spot as the first woman of color to triumph at the Commonwealth Games marathon in 1973, barefoot and wearing nothing but a petticoat. Thus, her tag the ‘petticoat princess’ tag came about.

Post making headlines as Kenya’s new athletic sensation and model to the mass of her community. The future of her career hauled as nature called. Chebichi bared the fruit of her womb, ending her career and future participation in the sport.

Several African female athletes who achieved success on the world level as runners concurred that having children at a young age hindered their ability to pursue their athletic goals.

The inquisition of a turbulent format that sees through the demise of incomparable women on the rise is yet to be unfolded. Legendary stories are told of great athletes, but none beats that of Sabina Chebichi.


UKUKHANYA KWENYANGA: A MOONLIGHT WALTZ, is choreographed by Craig Pedro from Joburg Ballet. His ballet includes music by Johann Strauss and Pietro Mascagni and seeks to merge the European style of dance with South Africa’s beautiful Xhosa designs by choreographing a waltz highlighting the classical ballet technique with dancers in romantic tutus embellished with Xhosa print and beading design motifs. 

“As a nation faced with many social ills and their subsequent impacts,” says Craig Pedro, “we have proven our resilience and tenacity. Our shortcomings and limited resources, like a lack of electricity generation, have never swayed or impeded us from finding that glimmer of hope amid the dark times. We continue to make something out of nothing and dance in the moonlight! 

JOBURG MOVES is a Dance Season curated and coordinated by choreographer and director, Lesego van Niekerk, in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg’s Arts & Culture. JOBURG MOVES, designed in the style of a Fringe platform will take place from Tuesday 23 April to Friday 26 April 2024. JOBURG MOVES serves as an inclusive platform uniting diverse facets of the dance industry while nurturing a unified and intergenerational dance audience within Johannesburg. Through an array of compelling live performances, thought-provoking exhibitions, panel discussions and masterclasses, JOBURG MOVES champions inclusivity and aims to dissolve boundaries within the dance industry. Our mission is to cultivate a cohesive and thriving dance environment in Johannesburg where creativity flourishes and boundaries dissolve. 

About UJ Arts & Culture
UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni, and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts. 

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity, and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.