Book Launch: Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance

The Ar(t)chive, South Africa’s award-winning theatre dance and physical performance archive, will launch the  ground-breaking new publication: Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance by pioneering veteran dance writer Adrienne Sichel at the Market Theatre on 29 September. It was released in KZN at this year’s JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience earlier this month.

Adrienne Sichel
Photo Credits Val Adamson

Sichel has over the past 40 years, painstakingly documented in her journalistic writing and critiques the changing landscape of contemporary dance in South Africa pre and post democracy. Her contribution to the dance industry has earned her the respect of both the national and international dance community.

Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance is a blend of award winning, veteran dance writer Adrienne Sichel’s journalistic writing and experience combined with a vast collection of research material on the evolution of contemporary dance in South Africa. This finger printing exercise connects some of the dots of how a very valuable, even unique, heritage, has taken shape.

Featured in this one of a kind book are artists, companies and festivals which include early pioneers and contemporary players such as: Sylvia Glasser, Tossie van Tonder, Carly Dibakoane, Robyn Orlin, Alfred Hinkel, Jay Pather, Debbie Rakusin, Jackie Mbuyiselwa Semela, Jayespri Moopen, Boyzie Ntsikelelo Cekwana, Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe, Gregory Maqoma, Lliane Loots, Nelisiwe Xaba, PJ Sabbagha, Jeannette Ginslov, Dada Masilo, Mamela Nyamza, Fana Tshabalala, Jazzart Dance Theatre, Moving into Dance Mophatong, The First Physical Theatre Company, The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative, Flatfoot Dance Company, Via Katlehong Pantsulas, Dance Umbrella, Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience, The Baxter Dance Festival.

Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance was originally edited by Tammy Ballantyne and Clare Craighead.

The Ar(t)chive in partnership with The Market Theatre (JHB) presents the launch event for Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance.

The National Launch takes place at The Market Theatre in Johannesburg on Saturday, 29 September at 3:30 for 4pm. 

Books will be on sale at the event and cost R400.

About the Book:

Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance is a blend of award winning, veteran dance writer Adrienne Sichel’s journalistic writing and experience combined with a vast collection of research material on the evolution of contemporary dance in South Africa. This finger printing exercise connects some of the dots of how a very valuable, even unique, heritage, has taken shape.

In Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance Sichel presents some of the markers in the timeline and sketches the eras and genres which make up this art form in South Africa and on the African continent. This book is the only existing blueprint of contemporary dance in South Africa and will undoubtedly be a seminal teaching guide in performance studies. Embedded in the statistics and histories lie a ganglia of complex narratives and aesthetic alchemies inextricably connected to, and emerging from, a still fractured society in constant transition. Body Politics: Fingerprinting South African Contemporary Dance is a concerted attempt to map this artistic terrain in a socio political context. Whilst being acutely aware of the gaps, Sichel’s outline of this creative cartography aims to be as comprehensive as possible in framing, tracing and tracking a remarkable, intrinsic component of our cultural ethos.

Adrienne Sichel’s Awards:

-2017: Humanities and Social Sciences Awards 2017 (Department of Higher Education) Creative Collections: Best Public Performance – Dance for BodyTech, The Ar(t)chive: Jessica Denyschen and Adrienne Sichel.

-2016: National Arts Festival and Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) Arts Journalism.

Lifetime Achievement Award for sustained and passionate commitment to the arts and arts journalism in South Africa.

2009: Alan Kirkland Soga Lifetime Achiever Award presented by the Newspaper Association of South Africa.

2009: Tunkie Award for leadership in South African dance.

 

About The Ar(t)chive NPC:

The Ar(t)chive is the first and only comprehensive contemporary dance archive of its kind in South Africa and on the continent. The Ar(t)chive has established itself, locally and internationally, as a pioneering archival resource project which documents, collects and collates all the various available materials on South African and African contemporary dance and physically-based theatrical performance. Over the course of the last 6 years The Ar(t)chive has made significant contributions to the dance heritage of South Africa and in 2017 was awarded the prestigious NIHSS Award (National Institute for the Heritage and Social Sciences Award: Humanities and Social Sciences Books, Creative and Digital Collections Award).

The Ar(t)chive, was co-founded in 2012 by filmmaker and visiting researcher at WITS University, Jessica Denyschen and veteran dance writer Adrienne Sichel. In 2017 The Ar(t)chive officially registered as an NPC. Denyschen and Sichel have over the past 6 years worked collaboratively to create an archive that reflects the complexly political and culturally diverse nature of South African contemporary theatre dance as it has evolved over the past 40 years. The Ar(t)chive is based in the WITS School of Arts.

 

The publication of this book was made possible through the generous support of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), RMB, Porcupine Press and Ian Hamilton.

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