Under the slogan “When the soul speaks to the body moves”, Sibikwa Arts Centre in Benoni hosted its Inaugural Body Moves International Inclusive Dance Festival for able-bodied and disabled dancers on the 15th of October 2022.
The festival incorporated dancers from different countries such as Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa, Uganda, and Flanders.
The multi-faceted Festival included workshops from the 10th- 14th of October at Sibikwa and opened to abled and disabled dancers.
“The festival challenged perceptions and expanded understanding of dance and disability, promoting cultural exchange, collaboration, and cooperation between African and European countries. The participation of the dancers and dance companies from Ireland, Italy, Flanders, and the Netherlands has been made possible by the generous support of their respective European embassies,” said the CEO of Sibikwa Arts Centre, Caryn Green.
The unity of these countries was a perfect indication of diversity and inclusion among the dancers. The companies that took part in the festival were Monkey Mind (Flanders), Offincine di Creazione (Italy), Equinox Theatre Company (Ireland), Introdans (Netherlands), Flatfoot Dance Company (Durban), Moving into Dance (Johannesburg), and Sibikwa Arts Centre (Benoni).
“The performance was a miracle. Six works from different companies from European countries and the collaboration between the Netherlands and South Africa indicates the incredible power of celebrating art and the art making of incredible choreographers and dancers who are literally transforming the way we think about integrated arts and performance,” mentioned Dr Lliane Loots from UKZN and flatfoot dance company.
Tebandeke Joseph, a choreographer, and dancer from Uganda led the first act with a solo titled “Time Machine” that took the audience’s breath away. Time Machine is a commentary on the perceptions of the “vulnerable disabled person” and expresses Joseph’s personal journey in defying the limitations of a world I’ll fit for the progress and success of a disabled Ugandan man.
Explaining the message portrayal of their dance, disabled Eva Johanna Eikhout from the Netherlands said, “The story that we were trying to tell was that we can be in different bodies and be equal to each other even though you are much different from each other. It was not only about what I can do but to show that everyone can dance.
Speaking to Ekurhuleni News, Thapelo Ben Kotlolo from South Africa mentioned that working with Eva has made him realise how quick we are to assume as fully abled people that the other person cannot do and not allow people to just be and do what they can do. Even if you can be physically okay, there are some things you still cannot do.
“All we need is to have a platform to do what we can and also allow others to do what they can regardless of the circumstance,” he said.
By Simphiwe Nkosi