Photo Flash: SOUTH AFRICAN DANCE FESTIVAL October -November

DANCE forms an important part of this year's vibrant AFROVIBES FESTIVAL 2014 with three outstanding dance productions from South Africa and one collaborative programme by Birmingham's ACE Dance & Music and South African choreographer Vincent Mantsoe (photo left of 'Mana' by Brian Slater).

Check out photos from the shows below!

All four dance productions will tour to the majority of this year's 17-venue tour of Afrovibes 2014 and are as follows (with tour dates below):

DARK CELL (20 mins) "Prison is designed to break one's spirit and destroy one's resolve - all with the idea of stamping out that spark that makes each of us human and each of us who we are." Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom. Drawing inspiration from the history of South African ex-political prisoners of Robben Island, choreographer and performer THEMBA MBULI's award-winning dance work uses the concept of a prison cell as a metaphor for mental imprisonment. Dark Cell is a collaboration between three art practitioners: concept formation by Kent Ekberg (Swedish Theatre Director), design and choreographic creation by Themba Mbuli (South Africa), and musical composition from award-winning British composer Phil Thurston. Dark Cell has been performed in Sweden, Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa, Argentina and this year makes its UK debut.

UNCLES & ANGELS (30 mins) is an interactive dance and video collaboration between experimental filmmaker MOCKE J VAN VEUREN and choreographer/performer NELISIWE XABA whose ground breaking productions have toured throughout Africa, USA and Europe.

The central allusion in Uncles & Angels is the Reed Dance - well known in Southern Africa as a cultural celebration that is meant to promote respect for young women and preserve the custom of girls remaining virgins until marriage. Within this context, Uncles & Angels explores questions of chastity and tradition, while presenting a compelling examination of the manipulation of cultural heritage via dance and visual production.

MANA (60 mins) is presented by Birmingham-based ACE Dance & Music, choreographed by South African VINCENT MANTSOE and ACE artistic director, GAIL PARMEL. The word 'mana' is universal and is used in more than 24 languages to unify cultures, beliefs and ages. Mantsoe uses Mana to evoke the visceral spirituality of African dance and Shamanistic customs, focusing on the internal strength of the individual. Contemporary Dance, Afro-fusion, martial arts and the essence of flamenco and ballet are fused to deliver performances of outstanding energy.

BIKO'S QUEST performed by JazzArt Dance Theatre is inspired by the Steve Biko Foundation's photographic exhibition, The Quest for a True Humanity about the life, death and legacy of Steven Biko, the anti-apartheid activist and Black Consciousness Movement founder. Memory, identity, history and emotion are the cornerstones of Biko'sQuest. It takes the audience on a poignant and emotional journey through danced storytelling: "It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die" Steve Biko.

AFROVIBES, the biennial festival that celebrates the best of live theatre, music, dance and visual arts from South Africa makes a welcome return to the UK with a four week programme of award-winning productions from October 13th to November 8th. Celebrating 20 years of democracy in South Africa, Afrovibes is part of the official SA-UK Season 2014-15, a collaboration that will see the UK and South Africa engage for the next two years in creative programmes. Afrovibes made its UK debut in 2010 and returns for a third, highly entertaining and thought-provoking four week season from October 13th to November 8th 2014 at 17 venues across the UK.

Each UK venue will host a diverse programme of quality work including political drama, astonishing real life stories, stunning contemporary dance, great music, film and photography. Each venue will host a Township Cafe where visitors can enjoy typical South African food and drink while taking in music, poetry, talks and free pop-up performances by local artists and Afrovibes performers.

Photo credit: Sydney Willow Smith, Jazzart Dance Theatre, Brian Slater, Neliswe Zaba

high res photos

Photo Flash: SOUTH AFRICAN DANCE FESTIVAL October -November
Biko's Quest

Photo Flash: SOUTH AFRICAN DANCE FESTIVAL October -November
Dark Cell

Photo Flash: SOUTH AFRICAN DANCE FESTIVAL October -November

Photo Flash: SOUTH AFRICAN DANCE FESTIVAL October -November
Afro Vibes poster

Photo Flash: SOUTH AFRICAN DANCE FESTIVAL October -November

Photo Flash: SOUTH AFRICAN DANCE FESTIVAL October -November
Uncles and Angels