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26 Sep

Sibikwa Arts Center’s Festival Sees Disabled Dancers Compete!

For the very first time in South Africa, the Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni will be hosting the inaugural BODY MOVES International Inclusive Dance festival for both able-bodied and disabled dancers from 10 – 16 October 2022. 

In tandem with the festival, the Arts Centre will be hosting the 5th Shukuma Mzansi! SA_EU DIALOGUE Democracy in Culture II in partnership with SA-EU Strategic Partnership – The Dialogue Facility, Department of Cooperative Governance (DCOG), Department of Sports, Arts and Culture (DSAC), South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and South African Cities Network (SACN) and EU partner countries: France, Flanders, Ireland and Italy from 4 – 6 October 2022.

Photo: supplied

The festival aims to provide disabled dancers the same opportunities as able-bodied dancers and ultimately challenge circular rhethoric about dance and disability. Additionally, the festival is geared at promoting cultural exchange, collaboration and cooperation between African and European countries. Participating countries include Ireland, Flanders, Italy and Netherlands, supported by their embassies, as well as from South Africa and Uganda, supported by the British Council. Under the theme “when the soul speaks, the body moves”, dancers from dance studios in these countries will unite in creativity and diversity.

Established in 1988 by Small Ndaba and Phyllis Klots, The Sibikwa Arts Centre is an award winning, multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence that leverages the performing arts for advancement. The centre is an NPO and aims to provide opportunities in arts and culture for the advancement of individuals, communities and the sector. 

The programme is 5 years in the running and is designed to promote multi-stakeholder policy engagement and cross-sector cooperation, inlive- streamed plenaries, working group sessions and virtual study tours, illustrating the work being done to promote cultural inclusion, enhance participatory governance, and build social infrastructure that allow for safe, democratic and creative connections in South Africa and Europe.

It provides a rare and critical opportunity for national and international government departments, institutions working in culture and urban policy, the community arts sector, academics and community members to come together to rethink, reposition and reimagine the role of culture, citizens, cities and spaces.

Photo: supplied

The Festival and the dialogues will take place from the 4th – 17th of October 2022. The Festival includes dancers and dance companies from Ireland, Flanders, Italy and Netherlands, supported by their embassies, as well as from South Africa and Uganda, supported by the British Council.

Throughout the week of the festival, the programme will include the following activities: 

– Dance and disability workshops will be held from the 10th – 14th of October and there will be performances by international and South African artists from mainstream schools and learners from special needs schools. 

– There will be a professional exchange workshop for dancers and choreographers.

Photo: supplied

– A seminar will be held on the 11th and 12th of October, from 18:00 – 19:30. This seminar will be live-streamed on the Sibikwa Arts Centre Facebook page. The seminar aims to spark conversations between academics, civil society organisations and artists who are determined to mainstream disability in and through dance. 

– The festival will take place on two days, the 15th and 16th, where solo, company and mixed-ability collaborative performances will take place. 

This will all be taking place at the Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni. 

Anyone can participate in the dance and disability workshops, as well as the seminar. 

The Festival will be filmed as part of a collaborative research project on Disability, Dance and Citizenship in Africa by Dr Liane Loots (UKZN, SA) and Prof Yvette Hutchinson (University of Warwick, UK).

The performances will be taking place on the 15th & 16th of October. The day tickets are pre-sold on Quicket at R60 and R75 at the door. 

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