Following the announcement of MOS by Ioanna Paraskevopoulou, Dance Umbrella announces a second show in the 2023 Festival programme. Intoxicating expression and pulsating rhythms combine as the award-winning South African dance company Via Katlehong returns to the Dance Umbrella Festival, following their critically acclaimed 2018 collaboration with Gregory Maqoma, to make their Sadler’s Wells debut.
Via Injabulo is a celebration of global movement styles, which brings together choreography from two sought-after creatives on the international scene: Marco Da Silva Ferreira and Amala Dianor, who are both supported by the Big Pulse Dance Alliance, an organisation dedicated to strengthening and expanding the reach of high-quality contemporary dance.
Mixing hip hop dance styles house and top rock with pantsula, a South African township dance, Marco Da Silva Ferreira’s førm inførms examines the idea of what it means to have a collective identity. In Emaphakathini, Amala Dianor seeks to break down borders with live DJing playing the rousing beats of house sub-genre Ama Piano. Drawing on traditional dance techniques and the company’s own pantsula roots, he explores the individual personalities within Via Katlehong, displaying character traits we all identify with.
This is a rare and exciting opportunity to see the combination of these two international choreographers working with Via Katlehong on one the biggest stages for dance in the country.
Artistic Director and CEO of Dance Umbrella, Freddie Opoku-Addaie said: ‘London’s audiences are in for a vibe like no other with Via Katlehong, back at Dance Umbrella for their Sadler’s Wells debut and the UK premiere of Via Injabulo. Last seen in DU’s Out of the System in 2018 when I was Guest Programmer, the company made a mark with its compositional curiosity and routes of Pantsula, a unique South African phenomenon. This double bill by Amala Dianor and Marco da Silva Ferreira (two of the most exciting dance makers in global contemporary movement) etches a wider contemporary sensibility that will put a spring in our step as we leave Sadler’s Well Theatre.’
Via Katlehong was formed in 1992 as a community troupe, composed of youths from the township of Katlehong in the notorious East Rand war zone of the 1980s South African uprising. During Apartheid, many of the country’s black population were relocated to urban townships where unemployment and illegal activity became a catalyst for a new culture: Pantsula. Via Katlehong have reinvented the art form by combining it with tap and Gumboot. Their community dance school and 18 professional dancers are led by Steven Faleni and Buru Mohlabane. Their awards include FNB Vita Dance, Dance Umbrella awards, Gauteng Dance Showcase, KTV Most Brilliant Achievement and Gauteng MEC Development Award.
Marco Da Silva Ferreira is a choreographer whose work revolves around dance in urban contexts. His unique abstract expressionism and self-biographical style has earned him recognition in the international dance community. HU(R)MANO, premiered in 2013 and performed at various international festivals, was highlighted by Aerowaves Priority Companies in 2015. His latest work, Bisonte, premiered in 2019 at the Teatro Municipal do Porto and has been performed in Lisbon, Brussels, and Montemor-o-novo. Marco was an associated artist at the Teatro Municipal do Porto in 2018/19 and is currently an associated artist at the Centre chorégraphique National de Caen in Normandie.
Renowned hip hop dancer and choreographer, Amala Dianor, continues to push boundaries with his distinctive dance style and poetic approach to ‘otherness’. After a decade of performing with renowned choreographers in various dance forms, Dianor founded his own company in 2012. He collaborates with electro-soul composer Awir Léon and other choreographers, composers, writers and visual artists. Dianor is a Big Pulse Dance Artist whose latest works include a nine-dancer piece called The Falling Stardust, and two short pieces, Point Zéro and Wo-Man. He also created CinéDanse with visual artist Grégoire Korganow, which was selected for the Villa Albertine dance film catalogue in the USA.