Dance Activism! Sharing the wise words of Amrita Hepi

Here she is… her words say enough. I just LOVE her! Amrita Hepi is also one to watch for some amazing work internationally. In this video… right from her opening words and acknowledgements I am hooked. For her dedication to dance activism and for her huge heart! It is so true we learn to apologise: to shrink ourselves, to not be too much… and what we must all do to really find our inner dancer is be FREE! Thank you Amrita for this beautiful and inspirational video…

The Elderly Population BY MADISYN TAYLOR Our elderly population are our mentors and wise folk that came before us and paved the way for our future.

I read this this morning and thought it needed sharing. I am about to step into a new space in my ilife working with Yorkshire Dance on a project working with older people, and so when I saw this article, I just knew it needed sharing!
In tribal cultures, the elderly play an important role. They are the keepers of the tribe’s memories and the holders of wisdom. As such, the elderly are honoured and respected members of tribes. In many modern cultures, however, this is often not the case. Many elderly people say that they feel ignored, left out, and disrespected. This is a sad commentary on modernisation, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change this situation by taking the time to examine our attitudes about the elderly and taking action.

Modern societies tend to be obsessed with the ideas of newness, youth, and progress. Scientific studies tell us how to do everything – from the way we should raise our kids to what we need to eat for breakfast. As a result, the wisdom that is passed down from older generations is often disregarded. Of course, grandparents and retired persons have more than information to offer the world. Their maturity and experience allows for a larger perspective of life, and we can learn a lot from talking to elderly people. It’s a shame that society doesn’t do more to allow our older population to continue to feel productive for the rest of their lives, but you can help to make change. Perhaps you could help facilitate a mentorship program that would allow children to be tutored by the elderly in retirement homes. The elderly make wonderful storytellers, and creating programs where they could share their real life experiences with others is another way to educate and inspire other generations.

Take stock of your relationships with the elderly population. Maybe you don’t really listen to them because you hold the belief that their time has passed and they are too old to understand what you are going through. You may even realise that you don’t have any relationships with older people. Try to understand why and how our cultural perception of the elderly influences the way you perceive them. Look around you and reach out to someone who is elderly – even if you are just saying hello and making small talk. Resolve to be more aware of the elderly. They are our mentors, wise folk, and the pioneers that came before us and paved the way for our future.

The Jellyfish Metaphor: Dealing with trauma

How are jellyfish, dna, cancer, brain waves, stained glass windows, nature, space, the universe connected?

I came across this article on one of my favourite sites: Medium, and I just knew this would be the basis of my new work ‘Foreign Bodies’.

“Recently, a friend told me something I didn’t know about jellyfish: that certain types of jellyfish are responsible for bringing little bits of nutrients from the depths of the seas all the way up to the surface of the water. They deposit bits of those nutrients as they push their way upward, contributing nibbles for all sorts of creatures in the ecosystem. When I heard this, I immediately thought of how this can be a metaphor for our lives, and dealing with trauma. In the deep, dark places, things happen to us. We get hurt. We’re betrayed. We’re abused. It’s traumatic. And it’s very easy to keep all of these experiences in the depths. But, what would happen if we followed the way of the jellyfish? What if we decided to leave the depths and head toward the surface of the ocean?”. Beebe Sharkey

We are one and the same… a collective experience, all connected… via the worldwide web, via brainwaves, via Gaia, the universe… all the arguing and pettiness over difference… but ultimately… we are all equals.

In an age where tools like the web connect us, ‘Foreign Bodies’ explores why there is such ‘dis-ease’ around ‘other’. Building upon themes of medicine and science, the work draws parallels to the fear of ‘contamination’ and need for border controls. The piece crosses oceans to illuminate the enormity of time, telling the stories of individuals on a human level, and echoing the bigger story: ancestry, evolution and the haunting manifestation of power structures historically.

Foreign Bodies is a celebration of dance and music to pulsating and intertwining Afro House and Kuduro rhythms, ‘Foreign Bodies’ crosses borders and cultures to ask whether cultural traditions become lost with globalisation? What remains of our heritage once cultures mix? What is our right and responsibility to our ancestry and h(er)(is)tory?

What I love is that with the creation of each new piece it is like a new person: The piece has its own personality… I can’t wait to meet this personality and and work with a truly incredible team of artists!

Roots of Rumba Leeds

Thank you to Yorkshire Dance for having us, to Wardrobe, to DJ Lubi and all the amazing performers on the 20th July.

It felt like a really special night: we held a Q&A with the artists (Thank you for the suggestion Ian Abbot!) and we had a beautiful jam at the end of the session. The audience were fun and super supportive and enthusiastic… and the after party was just on fire!

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

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.