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22. February 2016

Romeo & Juliet / REBELLION & JOHANNESBURG - South African Premiere on 25 and 26 February 2016 in Johannesburg

Photograph: Tanja Hall






Moving Into Dance Mophatong are opening the Dance Umbrella Festival with the South African Premiere of Dance Umbrella on 25 and 26 February in Johannesburg

Romeo & Juliet / REBELLION & JOHANNESBURG celebrated its World Premier with a German Tour to 7 cities in September and October 2015. For February 2016 the production has been invited to showcase its South African Premier at the Dance Umbrella Festival at the University of Jhb Arts Centre - University Of Johannesburg. Tickets for 25 February are already sold out.

Romeo & Juliet / REBELLION & JOHANNESBURG is Jessica Nupen's bold and provocative re-telling of the classical Shakespearean story set to the backdrop of a transforming street subculture in Johannesburg.

This exhilarating contemporary dance-theatre piece taps into the unique spirit of the city and its changing cultural landscape. Nupen's creation in collaboration with South African choreographers Sunnyboy Motau and Oscar Buthelezi, Soweto-born music pioneer and 'Prince of Township Tech' Spoek Mathambo and Johannesburg based designer Anmari Honiball examines the complexities of a generation of young South Africans faced with the challenges of a transforming country. Gender and power stereotypes are confronted in ritualistic ceremonies weighed against a constantly metamorphosing environment in which the dancers find themselves battling for their own survival. The piece is a portrayal of the resilience and vibrance of young South Africans in search of identity. Inspired by the dancers' individual biographies, Nupen creates an edgy and wildly infectious piece that exposes the contradictions and often humorous paradoxes in the country while expressing a unique response towards contemporary South Africa.

Concept & Choreography: Jessica Nupen
Artistic Assistance & Choreography: Sunnyboy Motau, Oscar Buthelezi
Music Composition: Spoek Mathambo
Film Projection: Ed Blignaut
Technical Director: Lars Rubarth
Costume Design:  Anmari Honiball
Production Management: Fanny Roy
PR and Marketing: Ulrike Steffel
Graphic Design: Heiko Gentsch
Photography: Steve Thomas, Tanja Hall, Xavier Saer
Dancers: Moving Into Dance Mophatong (Sunnyboy Motau, Oscar Buthelezi, Muzi Shili, Teboho Gilbert Letele, Thenjiwe Soxokoshe, Asanda Ruda, Eugine Mashiane and Thabang Mdlalose)
Jessica Nupen – Biography
The dancer and choreographer Jessica Nupen grew up in Johannesburg where as a young girl she was exposed to the harsh brutalities of racism and the oppressiveness of a small minority. Jessica observed the enforced silence and later the abject anger of the black majority, through the anti-apartheid activities of her parents. These memories and experiences have had a profound impact on the way that she sees and interprets the world around her. It is these interactions with her broader society that has led her to explore, but in a different context, the effects and impact of gender, identity, tradition and power on people in search of freedom, stability, peace, opportunities, education and the inalienable right to basic human rights.

Jessica expresses a unique South African perspective in her dance creations and explores in her work politics in the arts from a distinctly African perspective. She is inspired by transformation in her country where younger generations are faced with their own socio-political challenges. With her inherently South African eye she focusses on conflict in and between cultures and traditions with an underlying satirical and blatantly honest opinion and is known for reflecting the complex realities in her country. Integrating different media and collaborating with a diverse range of artists including Jürgen Schadeberg, Dan Halter, Philip Miller, Anmari Honiball and Spoek Mathambo, she investigates a certain theatrical reality which has enabled her to find her unique choreographic vocabulary. Having trained professionally in London and performed in Europe and South Africa, her pieces incorporate a blend of contemporary, classical and traditional dance genres and cultural and political themes, expressed in innovative and provocative signature creations.

Jessica completed her professional training in London at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Her graduation choreography was showcased at the Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Nupen has danced in the National Theater of Mannheim, State Theatres of Giessen, Berlin, Lübeck and currently produces her work in Germany and South Africa. Her pieces have received both national and international recognition and continue to be performed in Europe and South Africa.

Nupen's touring works: Afridyssey – an African Odyssey in 2013 and Hey Wena! Hey You! Rewoven in 2014 examine post-colonial attitudes towards a developing African continent. Jessica has been commissioned to work in contemporary dance and theatre productions in Fleetstreet Theater, for Jane Goodall, the eigenarten Festival, as well as for the World Hunger Association, Osnabrück and Mainz festivals. Jessica has been the key-note speaker at the Women in Business conference in Frankfurt in 2015 and has performed and lectured at the NOUS platform for Female African Artists. Jessica is a co- director of the South African Ilanga Festival and is the founder and director of the Sukuma Foundation, an initiative that empowers and supports emerging dancers in South Africa.

Jessica is currently collaborating with the University of Hamburg on Romeo & Juliet / REBELLION & JOHANNESBURG where the creative process and themes discussed are researched and workshopped with the doctoral students.

Anmari Honiball | Costume Designer
Anmari grew up in the historical diamond town of Kimberley, Northen Cape, South Africa. She studied fine arts at the University of the Free State, specialising in painting. After completing her Fine Arts Diploma she went on to study fashion design at Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design outside Stellenbosch. In 2011 she relocated to Johannesburg where she came under the mentorship of fashion designer Marianne Fassler, while working as her assistant for two years.

She participated in the Design Indaba 2011 as an emerging creative and in 2012 was selected as a finalist for the Elle New Rising Star design awards hosted by ELLE Magazine and Mr Price. In April 2013 she showed her first womens wear collection at South African Fashion Week and was awarded winner of the Lufthansa First Best Collections.   In 2013 she was selected as a finalist for Renault New Talent Search hosted by South Africa Fashion week. Currently she is working under her fashion label ANMARI HONIBALL that produces locally made womens wear.

Spoek Mathambo | Composer
Spoek Mathambo is the stage name of South African musician (Singer-Rapper-Producer-DJ), Nthato Mokgata. At the vanguard of a new wave of African artists, Spoek is hitting the world hard. It is clearly African music, but like none that has ever been heard or made before. Mathambo grew up in Soweto, South Africa. His early work included collaborations with South African producer Sibot, who also worked with Okmalumkoolkat on "Nice Shandees".
In 2010, his debut album Mshini Wam was released on BBE Records  The album includes an award-winning cover of Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’. The track received the Young Director Award at the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Meanwhile Mathambo was nominated in the Best African Act category at the 2011 Mobo Awards.

In 2012, Mathambo released his second album Father Creeper on Sub Pop, gaining him a second nomination for Best African Act, at the 2012 MOBO Awards.[6] He was also nominated for Best African Act for the third time at the 2013 MOBO awards.

The edgy, unorthodox figure of Spoek Mathambo heads the Fantasma project, a South African band made up of musicians with very different backgrounds and styles who teamed up to create a sound that is far more than the sum of its parts. Fantasma are electronica producer DJ Spoko, from Pretoria; Bhekisenzo Cele, from Durban, on the accordion, guitar, bass and vocals; guitarist Andre Geldenhuys, from Cape Town; and, last but not least, on vocals, producer Spoek Mathambo, from Johannesburg, whose albums have been released on several prestigious labels, including Sony, Mad Decent and Sub Pop. Into this melting pot go dozens of styles, skills, sounds and influences, from deep house (one of the most popular genres in the country) to psychedelia by way of Zulu traditions, hip hop psych rock, ancestral beats, Bacardi house (invented by DJ Spoko) and even aspects of surf music, one of Geldenhuys’ areas of expertise.

Moving Into Dance Mophatong
The disciplined creativity has produced wonderful individual dancers and great new choreographers. Long may Moving into Dance Mophatong remain in the forefront of beautiful expression in our country and the world. (Justice Albie Sachs 2008)

Established in 1978 as a non-racial dance company and training organisation, Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) has had a major impact as a leading Contemporary African Dance Company.

The company aims to present work that is thought-provoking yet accessible, at the same time dynamic, energetic and exciting. Since 1990 the company has performed to enthusiastic audiences from around the world.

Internationally recognised as an incubator producing a multitude of award winning and productive dancers, choreographers, arts administrators and teachers, MIDM has become recognised as a serious development organisation.
MID provides on-the-job training opportunities for further career paths in the arts industry. Training includes dance performance, choreography and teaching as well as arts administration, financial and communications skills to underprivileged and unemployed youth and young adults enabling them to become productive members of society.

MID develops performances that are appropriate to life experience in the communities, including hot button issues like gender abuse, HIV & AIDS. We promote gender equality by supporting female students, choreographers and performers.

Sunnyboy Mandla Motau | Choreographic Assistant/Dancer
Sunnyboy was born in Alexandra Township where he began his training in traditional dance and acting with a community group. In 2007 he joined the  company Bongo Le Sizwe Titswalo Project, where he had the opportunity to perform in Beijing, China.

In 2008 Sunnyboy joined the Moving into Dance Mophatong’s Performing Arts Training Course for 3 years. In 2010, he choreographed “Within me” a solo that was presented at the Johannesburg Dance Umbrella’s Stepping Stone Program which was then selected to be performed as part of the MIDM collage at the Theatre on the Square, Sandton. He performed in Thabo Rapoo’s “Batsumi” which was presented at the 2010 Dance Umbrella Festival and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Sunnyboy was involved in the International Workshop, “Crossings 2010”, working with Michel Keleminis (France), Vincent Mantsoe (South Africa), Mamela Nyamza (Cape Town) and Rachel Erdos (Israel).He created a piece “Silent Departure” which premiered at the 2011 Dance Umbrella which was also included in the 2011 MIDM Company season, performed in Mark Hawkins’ critically acclaimed “HOTEL”, commissioned by MIDM for the 2011 Dance Umbrella. In the same year, Sunnyboy was selected to perform a work by Cape Town choreographer, Paige Dawtry, as part of the African Music Festival in Newtown.

In 2012 he performed in Sifiso Kweyama’s "The More" and in Robyn Orlin’s “Beauty remained for just a minute gently returned to her starting position’’ which toured until late 2013 throughout France, Australia, Germany, Canada and at UK Dance Umbrella, London. 2013 saw the creation of his work “Man Longing” which was premiered at the 2013 Dance Umbrella and went on to being featured in the MIDM annual season and also at the 2014 Spring Loaded Season. 2014 saw Sunnyboy performing in “Ngizwise’ a collaborative work by Sonia Radebe and Jennifer Dallas (Kemi Productions, Canada) which premiered in August at the Jomba Contemporary Dance Festival in Durban, in partnership with 2015 Dance Umbrella. He was part of a team of choreographers for the Spring Loaded Mass Production and facilitated workshops at National School of the Arts Festival Of Fame, where he also performed in “Tranceformations” choreographed by MIDM’s Founder, Sylvia Glasser. He continues creating works for the company and for corporate events including the Arts & Culture Trust Awards and The SA Airports Company Feather Awards 2014 and the MIDM students for their final assessment graduation performances. Sunnyboy was involved in the Korean choreographers exchange organised by the Dance Forum and worked with Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative on the Colombian / South African exchange project.

Oscar Buthelezi | Artistic Assistant/Dancer
Oscar was born in Natalspruit and grew up in Vosloorus. He started dancing with a group called Via Vosloorus Mapantsula Youth Club. In 2003 he was chosen to work with the Dlala Mapantsula based in Gauteng, their performances fused Pantsula with contemporary dance technique. He was later chosen to work with a company called Nkosinathi Cultural Productions and performed at festivals such as FNB Dance Umbrella, National Art Festival (NAF) in Grahamstown, MACUFE festival and Zindala Zombili. In 2008 he had an opportunity to perform in France and also went in Netherlands for the Mundial Festival.

In 2010, he joined Moving into Dance Mophatong’s (MIDM) Performing Arts Training Course. In 2012 he was selected as an aspirant dancer for Moving into Dance and started choreographing a traditional Zulu dance for MIDM’s PATC students.

In 2014 he choreographed a duet called “Road” which will be performed at a collaboration season of contemporary dance” called “Spring –Loaded”. Oscar has great aspirations to choreograph further.

Muzi Shili | Dancer
Macaleni Wessel Shili is a professional dancer from Moving into Dance. For the Past ten years he has filled the roles of a performer, teacher, choreographer and facilitator. His professional dance training began with Moving into Dance, Community Dance Teachers Training Course which equips graduates to integrate academic subjects with dance. Macaleni graduated from this course in 2000.

Macaleni joined the Moving into Dance Performance Company in 2001 and started touring with the company nationally and internationally on the same year. He choreographed a work called “My partner and I” which won him a FNB pick of the stepping stone at the FNB Dance Umbrella Festival. He also choreographed a work titled “Giya wethu” for the performance company which toured and is still touring the country.

In 2003 Macaleni shared a stage with well known musicians Hugh Masikela in celebration for the Ten years of democracy for Southern Africa in Washing D.C. In 2004 he went to London with Gregory Maqoma as his Assistant in facilitating workshops.

Macaleni was also an assistant choreographer to Sylvia Glassers Blankets of Shame which deals with Socio-economic issues that affects our country today and also Threads” with Lebo Mashile. In 2002 he was nominated for the most promising male dancer in contemporary style. In 2005 got nominated again for most outstanding male dancer and won the same award in 2006. Macaleni is an assistant director of a musical group called “Hlabelela Ensemble”, which successfully recorded an album in 2004 called “African chants and Harmony”. In 2007 he facilitated the Gauteng Carnival that takes place every year by the city council.

Teboho Gilbert Letele | Dancer
Teboho Gilbert Letele started dancing in 2003 and part of the Arts and Culture program at PACOFS Artistic Development (PAD). In 2006 he joined a community dance group based in Bloemfontein called Qhubeka Dance Group. In 2009 he was selected to study for the Performing Arts Training Course (PATC) at Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM).

In 2010 he was a trainee at MIDM and was part of the team that won an award in the Stepping Stone program at FNB Dance Umbrella Festival. As an MIDM Company member, he has choreographed "Ho shwa ka taba" and performed a piece choreographed by Sefiso Kweyama entitled “The More”.

Teboho has worked with female choreograpers Sonia Radebe (South African) and Jennifer Dallas (Canadian) on “Ngizwise” in 2013, and performed it Jomba Festival in Durban 2014.

Asanda Ruda | Dancer
Asanda began dancing in her community group Amatsitsi Oqobo. In 2011 she joined a senior community in White City Jabavu and this opened her first door to contemporary, afrofusion and hip-hop dance. This lead Asanda to Moving Into Dance in 2012 where she had he opportunity to work with American choreographer Mira Cook. In 2013 Asanda was part of the 'Tranceformation' cast at the National School of the Arts Festival. She performed at the FNB Stadium for the African Cup of Nations opening and closing ceremonies and in September 2013 in a contemporary piece choreographed by Sfiso Kweyama at the Dance Umbrella Festival. Asanda has worked with Zulu boy, Andiswa Gebashe and the Dutsch ISH COMPANY, on the  project  “I FEEL YA”  and at the Sibikwa Festival. In May 2014 Asanda was part of the Bloemfontein residency at PACOFS directed by Sfiso Kweyema. In November she performed at the ACT awards as well as in an awarded piece choreographed by Eugene Mashiane and Sunnyboy Motau.

Thabang Mdlalose  | Dancer
Thabang Mdlalose was born in Natalspruit and began dancing at the Inhle Lento Youth Club. Thabang was recognised by Zwelibanzi Kamagedane Sibiya and began his career performing in the musical production “Mkabayi ka Jama” in 2011.

In 2013 Thabang began his studies at Moving Into Dance Mophatong and received his Performing Arts Certificate. He is currently doing his 3rd year as an aspirant in the company.

Thenjiwe Soxokoshe  | Dancer
Born in Soweto, Thenjiwe spent most of her childhood and schooling in Johannesburg. She started dancing at aged 7 and attended a group called the Youth Drama Society in Klipspruit as a contemporary and traditional dancer. In 2003 she joined Imvelo Dance Theatre founded by Melusi Mkhwanjani. With Imvelo Thenjiwe travelled to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2003. Thenjiwe performed at the Dance Umbrella Festival Stepping Stone Programme from 2002 to 2008. In 2012 she joined Moving Into Dance Mophatong Performing Arts Training Course and had the opportunity to perform at the Windoybrow Theatre in 'Triumph', a production directed by Jerry Mofokeng and choreographed by Sfiso E Kweyama.

Eugene Bafana Masiane | Dancer
Eugene is from Malahleni Witbank in Mpumalanga. He started dancing in 2002 in the community group Izodela. He joined Moving into Dance Mophatong in 2011 in the  production “Triumph” choreographed by Sifiso Kweyama, directed by Jerry Mofokeng and music by Ray Phiri. In 2012 he joined Moving into Dance training course PATC. In 2013 he became a second year student at MIDM and felt privileged to perform Sylvia Glasser's “Tranceformations” with the company. In the same year he participated in AFCON and Dance Umbrella. This year he is a full junior company member and is looking forward to a successful dance career.

The Production Romeo & Juliet / REBELLION & JOHANNESBURG is proudly
Sponsored by Lufthansa | Rand Merchant Bank | Goldman Sachs | Ammer Foundation | Hamburg Cultural Ministry | Hamburg Cultural Foundation | Mantombazana Foundation | Private Sponsors

In Cooperation with Dance Forum | Moving Into Dance Mophatong

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