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An exciting range of commissioned new works

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Dance Umbrella 2012 is scheduled to run from February 17 to March 4, 2012 at various Johannesburg venues that include the Market Theatre, The Dance Factory, Wits Theatre, Goodman Space at Arts on Main and the old Johannesburg Stock Exchange in inner-city Johannesburg.

Fifteen commissioned works will premiere at Dance Umbrella 2012: Uncles and Angels, by Nelisiwe Xaba, in collaboration with Mocke J van Veuren and the Goodman Space at Arts on Main, looks at the annual Reed Dance and its impact on young women; Exit/Exist, a new work by Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, deals with his forefather, Maqoma, a chief of the Xhosa nation; Qaphela Caesar! by Jay Pather is a mixed media work based on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and its relationship with postcolonial history. Mdu Mtshali, who attended the Crossings workshop in August 2011, will present a work called Imbokodo which looks at community life and jow Aids has affected it; Mari-Louise Basson has created a work called uncle stans jane and john doe, a work that studies child sexual abuse; Gates of Hell by Fana Tshabalala is the third work on this triple bill.

Alfred Hinkel, ex-JAZZART Dance Theatre artistic director, will present a work called dansmetdieduiwels, a story about Emmanuel Bugen, a young man who loved teaching young children, but was misunderstood.

Robyn Orlin will present her internationally renowned work, daddy, ive seen this piece six times before and I still don’t know why they are hurting each other. This work premiered at the FNB Dance Umbrella 1998 and subsequently toured internationally to great acclaim. Its return to South Africa has been long awaited.

One Night Stand by PJ Sabbagha is a multi-media dance theatre piece reflecting on sex, pleasure and how it invades our lives; Athena Mazarakis, collaborating with German choreographer Hansel Nezza, presents Inter-Fear, an investigation of fear as a common human preoccupation. Mark Hawkins continues working with Moving into Dance Mophatong with a work called Dirty Laundry and Desire Davids reflects on her mixed race with, Who is This… Beneath my Skin.

Ex-PACT Dance Company dancer Melody Putu will be back home with a work called Faith, which he has created in Sweden with the Young Fuse Company. Moya Michael who now lives in Brussels, will present Out of this Body... For a Little While, which is a deconstruction of her identity and the bigger world with which she has to work. Michael is in South Africa with assistance from the Embassy of Belgium, delegation of the Flemish Government. Dada Masilo will create a new work called Death and the Maidens which is sure to be one of the highlights at Dance Umbrella 2012. The last commissioned work is Opera for Fools choreographed by Vincent Mantsoe, which looks at life in the townships during the 1970s and 1980s.

The principal funder of Dance Umbrella 2012 is the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, supported by the National Arts Council and the Goethe Institut. Other partners include the Embassy of Belgium, Delegation of Flemish Government, Joburg and Rand Merchant Bank.

Booking for Dance Umbrella 2012 is at Computicket and opens on January 14, 2012.