International premiere of Jumaane Taylor's 'Supreme Love' shares jazz, tap and Coltrane with South African audiences—online

“My music is the spiritual expression of what I am — my faith, my knowledge, my being...When you begin to see the possibilities of music, you desire to do something really good for people, to help humanity free itself from its hangups...I want to speak to their souls.”

― John Coltrane

JOMBA! Digital Fringe: The Black dancing body in the time of COVID-19

CAMERA ROLLING…ACTION!

COVID-19 shifted norms for many, including how theatre goers experience live performances. Lliane Loots, artistic director of the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, introduced the 2020 JOMBA! Digital Fringe by fervently reminding us that the platform promotes new voices, offering less “seasoned” choreographers opportunities to present their works on a professional stage. 

JOMBA! presents Dance in a Digital Age: Quarantine can be stifling for artists—it won't silence them

As stores open up and everyday life begins the slow return to “normalcy,” it is expected that artists will be on the forefront of evaluating this new world. In fact, they’ve already started.

Contemporary dance artists Vincent Mantsoe and Ondiege Matthew premiered three short films exploring different perspectives during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the “Dance in a Digital Age” platform, presented by the 22nd (Digital) JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience.

JOMBA! USA Dance On Screen depicts intersectional struggle and joy

I tried to shake off my skepticism as I poised to watch the livestream of USA Dance on Screen, which aired Aug. 30 as part of the Digital JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience based in Durban, South Africa. I wondered how 10 short dance films presented in one hour could showcase the “varied American experience” as the four curators—Peter Chu, Rachel Miller, Lauren Warnecke, and Tara Aisha Willis—expressed in their curatorial statement. I am cynical about festival categories intended to represent a country, a feeling sharpened by global power disparities exacerbated in a pandemic.

Dancing heterotopias of COVID in JOMBA! digital platform

I received South African choreographer Vincent Mantsoe’s latest dance offering, the first part of “Cut” on day five of the 22nd Digital JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience while wearing a white dress on the South Side of Chicago. It was the morning after the Black Diaspora’s Chadwick Boseman (King T’Challa) gained his wings. Like all sacred gatherings in the height of a global pandemic, this one is sadly virtual, too. 

We asked Joel Hall Dancers & Center: What are you doing and how are you doing it?

“Pivot and find the blessing.” Sage words of advice from Jacqueline Sinclair, artistic director of Joel Hall Dancers & Center (JHDC) in the time of coronavirus. The mission of “awakening the dancer in everyone’s soul” is still intact at JHDC, but in recent years they took a smart turn toward sustainability. That’s all Sinclair. She led the charge breaking down the old business model, enlisting artists to do the administrative work and began working on a legacy project and performance—as well as hunting for a new space to house JHDC.

Honoring the past while practicing for tomorrow—dance films represent the U.S. at JOMBA!

“It’s been so important for me to consider progress, no matter how small, no matter how long it takes. Less about the specific point I’m at and more about the rate of change. Honoring the distance covered over time, the velocity of my being. And just needing to force myself to do shit. Trying over and over [...] when the default state of mind is the debilitating who-even-gives-a-fuck lack of motivation.”  

Regional feature: How the UW-Madison dance department is preparing for an unprecedented semester

MADISON, WI — As some colleges abruptly shift to remote learning in the wake of coronavirus outbreaks this fall, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) stands poised to reopen, offering a hybrid of remote and face-to-face instruction. The hybrid model would pose a challenge for any dance studio, but the UW Dance Department has created a detailed plan that they hope will be safe and beneficial for returning students.

Jarring 'Aye Asan' questions the definition of and need for humanity

What is self-identity? Is self-identity synonymous with humanity? Perhaps the two have a relationship in which self-identity defines one's humanity and humanity influences one's self worth. Either way, Adedayo Liadi, founder of Lagos-based Ijodee Dance Company, searches for the answers to these questions in “Aye Asan (Vanity).” Ijodee, performing alongside Durban's Flatfoot Dance Company, presented this work as part of the digital ‘Legacy’ platform hosted by JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience.