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SANAA celebrates the African continent and its creativity, and provides a platform for artists to showcase their works to public through an event positioned to elevate the status and appeal of their creative expressions.

The SANAA Africa Arts Festival 2013 will include established and up-and-coming artists selected from 7 key genres: theatre, music, fashion, film, poetry, dance and fine art. The annual SANAA Africa Arts Festival, in association with the MTN SA Foundation, will take place at the WITS Theatre Complex and other venues around Johannesburg from 23 to 26 May 2013. It will present a spectacular showcase of South African & African artists across various genres – creating impact nationally, regionally and internationally as part of Africa Day 2013. Dance Forum, under the auspices of SANAA Dance curator Georgina Thomson, has compiled an exciting line-up of original dance productions for this year’s festival. Their line-up for SANAA 2013 includes the world premiere of Dominion (choreographed by Luyanda Sidiya) and Uncles and Angels (choreographed by Nelisiwe Xaba and Mocke J van Veuren).

“This year’s SANAA Africa Arts Festival celebrates the spirit of Africa through artistic expression across the full spectrum of creativity; the ethos behind our programme selections for this year stays in touch with our heritage, but also moves rapidly into the ‘melting pot’ of cultures within the 21st Century and beyond. We hope to stimulate conversations and debate around the value of arts and culture for society at large, its lucrative business potential, and also offer a glimpse on the riches of the continent as offered by the festival,” explains Nonhlanha Matshazi, founder and director of the SANAA Africa Arts Festival.

Below follow full synopses and show/venue details for the two Dance Forum-productions being staged as part of the SANAA Africa Arts Festival 2013.

Uncles & Angels [May 24 at 18:30, Wits Downstairs Theatre]
Uncles & Angels is an interactive dance and video collaboration between Nelisiwe Xaba and Mocke J van Veuren. The central allusion within the piece is the Reed Dance – well known in Southern Africa as a colourful, cultural celebration that is meant to promote respect for young women and preserve the custom of girls remaining virgins until marriage. In light of this cultural happening, Uncles & Angels explores questions of chastity, virginity testing, purity, and tradition, while at the same time casting a wry glance at the power relations encoded within corporeal interaction through performance and projection.

In 2011, more than 50,000 young Southern African girls participated in the annual Reed Dance, and King Goodwill Zwelithini celebrated 40 years of his kingship. 2012 saw the 20th KwaZulu-Natal Reed Dance since the King re-established the tradition, allegedly in response to emergence of the AIDS Crisis in the late 80s. Today, it is still argued that culturally enforcing sexual chastity for girls will be an effective means of curbing the spread of HIV. At the same time, gyrating young female bodies are used in election campaigns, with the Reed Dance also presented as a tourist attraction for the region.

Dominion [May 25 at 20:15, Wits Main Theatre]
Vuyani Dance Theatre will premiere a new work Dominion, choreographed and directed by Assistant Artistic Director Luyanda Sidiya. This work is inspired by the energy and power within all of us. Unleashed, it has the potential to transform the environment or our space. The human spectrum is given dominion over all of the earth, everything that creeps on it and thus remains subdued. However, dominion in human-to-human interaction distorts this notion and poses the question: Who is power?

“The production brings together people from all walks of life who share their experiences with different levels of power around everyday issues,” explains Sidiya. “It provides a different and fresh perspective about dominion in society.”

Tickets are from R100 and can be booked via the SANAA website or bought at the venue.

The full line-up for the SANAA Africa Arts Festival 2013 will be confirmed shortly. Go to the festival website www.sanaafrica.com or Facebook page for regular updates.

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