ICA Live Art Festival 2018

The Institute for Creative Arts (ICA) is proud to announce that the ICA Live Art Festival 2018 will take place from 1–16 September 2018. This interdisciplinary festival is designed to challenge and extend the public’s experience of live art in a non-commercial environment and make accessible the work of visual and performing artists who explore new forms, break boundaries, flout aesthetic conventions, tackle controversy, confront audiences and experiment with perceptions.

The Festival will feature works by, amongst many others, Nástio Mosquito, Albert Khoza and Robyn Orlin, Mamela Nyamza, Sue Williamson, Toni Stuart, Athi-Patra Ruga, Nelisiwe Xaba, FAKA, Sello Pesa, John Nankin, Ilze Wolff, Theo Herbst and Donna Kukama. The Festival is curated by Jay Pather with co-curators Nomusa Makhubu, Nkule Mabaso and James Macdonald.

The ICA Live Art Festival, which began in 2012, is presented this year on four platforms. The first, entitledTrajectories, will focus on the development of live art, comprising productions that emerge from different lineages. Several African artists connect contemporary live art with classical African tradition, reminding us that the presence of live art on the continent long predates the coinage of the term in the west. Albert Khoza, a powerful and distinguished new voice, teams up with one of the enduring names in performance art, Robyn Orlin, to present And so you see…our honourable blue sky and ever enduring sun…can only be consumed slice by slice….

Another collaboration by musician Mthwakazi and performance artist Sikhumbuzo Makandula revisits the Tiyo Soga songbook using isiXhosa oral tradition. Writer Bongani Madondo will present Zulu: Credo Mutwa’s Fantasia in Praxis, a performance lecture, in which Mutwa’s extensive legacy around Afrofuturism is ritualised and integrated with several musical forms, archival video footage and testimonies from a range of African scholars.

Death and Utopia (aka The Young Pioneers) will be presented by John Nankin, one of the founders of the 1980s avant-garde Glass Theatre – a seminal point of departure for much performance art in South Africa. Pumflet, co-founded by architect Ilze Wolff and artist Kemang Wa Lehulere in 2016, returns to the historic Luxurama Theatre in Wynberg, a key site in the social imagination of Cape Town, particularly with the enforcement of the  Group Areas Act. In an expansive processional performance across the city, Athi-Patra Ruga looks back on his legacy through numerous avatars and video projections in Things we lost in the Rainbow.

The second platform, Intimacies and Biography, considers intimacy and personal performative portraiture in the time of decolonisation. Headlining this platform is Museum of Lungs – a collaboration between Egyptian theatre director and playwright Laila Soliman, musician Nancy Mounir and South African artists Stacy Hardy and Neo Muyanga. Further works include Nomcebisi Moyikwa’s searing portrait Qash Qash, Sue Williamson’s 119 deeds of sale, and Yaseen Manuel’s personal response as a South African Muslim to the Syrian War, Aslama. Acclaimed writer Nick Mulgrew premieres biography and Mlondi Dubazane evokes a personal relationship with his father in Lapha. Alan Parker and Gerard Bester present their intimately constructed duet Sometimes I Have To Lean In, and invigorating poet Toni Stuart presents Papyllon with British choreographer Ella Mesma. Renowned performance art duo FAKA will present Factory, a performative installation inspired by The Factory, a queer sex club in Johannesburg.

Recognising the roots of live art in disruption, interruption and protest, the third platform, titled Actions and Activism, features curatorial fellow Greer Valley who will curate several works that emerged out of the Fees Must Fall protests. Nombuso Mathibela and Leila Khan will present Engaging the Archive: Creative Resistance Through Publication while Malawian activist and artist Catherine Makhumula presents Corner Street – a large-scale multimedia installation based on the lives of sex workers. Activism takes on different forms and contexts in Bag Beatings by renowned choreographer Sello Pesa; Black Privilege by National Arts Festival Featured Artist Mamela Nyamza; and Respectable Thief by Nástio Mosquito, which was originally commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art.

The fourth and final platform considers live art In the Time of the Anthropocene and includes Theatrum Botanicum by acclaimed Swiss artist Uriel Orlow. Works by Buhlebezwe Siwani, Zayaan Khan and Nathalie Mba Bikoro will be curated by ICA Curatorial Fellow Cornelia Knoll who explores the ‘politics of nature through the poetics of decolonial live art.’

The Festival will be hosted at the University of Cape Town’s Little Theatre Complex, Iziko National Galleries, and in various spaces in the city centre, such as the Cape Town Station, the Company’s Garden, the Planetarium and the Castle of Good Hope. Programme details will be published soon at www.ica.uct.ac.za.

Photo credits:
Albert ‘Ibokwe’ KhozaInfluences of a Closet Chant, ICA Live Art Festival 2014. Photograph by Ashley Walters.
Sikhumbuzo Makandula, Mzilikazi, 2018.
Sello Pesa, Bag Beatings. Photograph by Stella Olivier, courtesy of The Centre for the Less Good Idea.

Roots of Rumba CPD day in Newcastle

On Friday 13th July we held our first CPD day (Continuing Professional Development day) for selected North east artists:

Patricia Verity Suarez

Patricia Verity Suarez is a Movement Director based in Teesside and will be delving into her heritage as a Latin American/British person as part of her creative practice. Her main practice includes character physicality and ensemble exploration of the world of her work. Her choreographic experience is mainly in Movement Direction where she choreographs social dances/period dances that enhance the storytelling of the scene.

Recent Movement Director credits include: The Graveyard Boy (Georgian Theatre Royal Youth Theatre, 2017), On Behalf of the People (NCME and Tour, 2017), 4×15 (Crucible Studio, 2017). Choreography Assistant: Kynren (Eleven Arches, 2018). Movement Placement: The York Mystery Plays (2016).

Juliette and Georgina Lance

Twins Juliette and Georgina will be exploring loss of control for a duet around mental health conditions that make the individual feel reckless and often isolated

Alice Henry

Alice Henry is a highly expressive and engaging dancer and performance artist based in the North East. Alice graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2015 with a first, and made Newcastle her home later that year. Since then Alice has been mentored and commissioned by Dance City to develop her creative practice as a maker and solo performer. Alice is an associate artist of performance collective State of Grace based in the North East and has worked with artists Neville Campbell, Joelene English and Ella Mesma.

Francis Odongo

Francis Odongo is from Nakuru Kenya and is an identical twin and highly skilled acrobatic duo, juggler, dancer and aerialists. Francis and his brother were talent spotted and won a scholarship at the Chinese Wuqiou Acrobatic Circus School. They became a premier double act in Kenya before being invited to the UK to join Let’s Circus in Newcastle. The main dance styles Francis uses are House, Breaking and Contemporary.

About the day:

The work progressed and developed over the day: Culminating in a final sharing of very high level work from our selected artists!

Here are some quotes about the day from them plus photographs by the wonderful Nicola Hunter.

“I’ve been digesting Ladylike and the CPD day and for me it was so valuable in terms of being given permission to explore latin movement vocabulary in terms of creating a piece. What was particularly useful to me was having space to articulate my ideas and then explore them for a day. The provocations, questions and feedback also gave me a chance to organise my thoughts and gave me a starting point to generate more material or explore the material I had from a different perspective. It was also exciting to be in a room with artists with different backgrounds and experiences and I learned so much from them too” Patricia Verity Suarez

“I experienced a lot: It was an amazing day and I learnt a lot from feedback, opportunities to play, to come with answers to share with each other and to try something new” Francis Odongo

“It was an amazing opportunity to experience such beautiful styles of dance and to understand their origins.To be able to work with so many creative and supportive individuals was so inspiring.” Juliette Lance

Ladylike at Dance City (The last of the chickens on tour)

We have come to the end of the road… I can’t quite believe it after three years working on this piece it has come to an end… but it has been such a beautiful and rewarding three years.

Of course the reason it took this long is that being a not regularly funded company, we have had to grab short and fleeting moments over that time to create, generate material and c;ean the piece as well as work on dancers stamina, and be sensitive to the very personal topics we dealt with… but every singe moment has paid off1 On Thursday 12th July we performed a final version of Ladylike and I felt satisfied: I have honed the piece to wehre I want it to be, I have drilled the dancers, and I have finally prefected the costumes.

An evening with Ella Mesma took the form of my dream evening:

We had international DJ Selectorchico playing in the foyer,

We had jars full of jokes, hugs and very special discounts care of Sh! (Enter the code Mesma for a discount until August 30th)

We had Chicken Charades

We had artwork by Hugo Canuto

And we had a chicken themed installation in the foyer

And of course we had the show and a post show talk lead by the wonderful Patricia Stead.

Thank you Newcastle and Dance City: What a wonderful audience, what a perfect place to hold our last performance, and what wonderful fotos Nicola Hunter captured of the night!

(Captured by Julia Testa of fotographer Nicola Hunter)


“I loved Ladylike! It resonated so much with me” Patricia Verity Suarez

“A thought provoking, captivating and powerful piece which had me thinking long after the performance was finished. Ladylike had me hooked from beginning to end”

“I loved it. I found the background notes unusually helpful, without telling me how to experience the show. I enjoyed the colour, lighting and the soundscape. There was such emotional power in the performances which was both moving and, at times, disturbing.This went far beyond ‘Dance’. And the ‘pre-performance’ in the foyer was a strong ‘taster’.”

“Very atmospheric and entertaining. High quality delivery by all of the dancers.”

4.17 ****

Over the course of this show, I have:

Learnt to stamp my feet and speak up: To ignore the shoulds and shouldnts and instead go with feelings and intuitions

Realised I am a skilled choreographer and grown my own way unaplogetically

Realised I have said everything I need to on this subject… thus feeling much less angry!

Realised how important it is to infiltrate: To make changes from the top down and to help pave the way for others

So what next?

Next… to continue paving the way for diaspora dance theatre, to begin my new piece: Foreign Bodies, to head to Africa for Papyllon, and to continue striving to pass on, elevate and celebrate these dance forms, those who came before me and those coming up next!

Lion Salt Works 7th July

Cyphers and rodas at #rootsofrumbaontour yesterday at #lionsaltworks @cheshiredance1 💛

Posted by Ella Mesma on Saturday, 7 July 2018

Thank you to all the amazing LSW and Cheshire Dance team… it was a magical space to perform and we loved the jam at the end of the evening!

Horniman Museum 8th July

Everyone is loving Ella Mesma on the Bandstand 😍

Posted by Horniman Museum and Gardens on Sunday, 8 July 2018

A very special day we had at the Horniman Museum presenting extracts of Roots of Rumba on Sunday 8th July… along with 30 degrees heat and burning hot feet! Thank you for having us Horniman Museum!

Photography by Julia Testa