JOMBA! MASIHAMBISANE Dialogues, an online Contemporary Dance Conference is calling for the submission of abstracts for its 2024 edition taking place from 22nd to 24th May. The dance conference is hosted by the UKZN’s Centre for Creative Arts’ JOMBA! The deadline for submissions is 5 April at 4 pm.

The year’s theme is (Re)turn to the drum? which looks into contemporary dance’s engagements with traditions, cultures, memory, hybridity, and contested identities.

The dance conference is also interested in engaging the ideas and critical discussions in dance studies that engage in definitions and debates of meaning within various dance terms. These areas and terms include tradition, culture, hybridity, and contested identities and critical analysis of dancers and choreographers.

The conference also looks to unpack how diasporic contemporary dance practices engage ideas of cultural appropriation, belonging, and identity in performance-making. Discussions of, and by, dancers and choreographers using traditional spirituality and spiritual practices to engage contemporary ways of being will also be explored.

The steering committee includes Lliane Loots, Thobile Maphanga, David Thatanelo April, Sarahleigh Castelyn, Yvette Hutchison, Clare Craighead, Mbongeni Mtshali and Gift Marovatsanga.

Sharing sentiments on this year’s dance conference, JOMBA! curator and dialogues chair, Dr Lliane Loots said, “Traditional dance forms are often seen as a set fixed embodiment of cultural heritage and historical narratives. Passed down through generations these dances are narrated and embodied in ways that see them encapsulate the often-nostalgic memories of past cultural values, rituals, and beliefs. Whether this is ballet, the rhythmic beats of flamenco, the storytelling of Bharatanatyam, or the powerful stamping of Ndlamu and Ngoma.”

Those interested can apply here