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Dance Umbrella and Sadler’s Wells present Via Injabulo

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Via Injabulo performing onstage

Dance Umbrella presents a feast of explosive dance and rousing rhythms from the South African townships

Via Katlehong / Marco da Silva Ferreira / Amala Dianor

Returning to Dance Umbrella Festival for 2023, the South African dance group collaborate with two leading European dance makers, Amala Dianor and Marco da Silva Ferreira to create Via Injabulo.

Via Katlehong Dance began as a community project in 1992. Named after the township in South Africa’s East Rand, the group challenged young people to express their hard lives through their music and dance. They carry a message of unmistakable optimism: a better world is possible.

For Via Injabulo, the South African dance group collaborate with two leading European dance makers, Amala Dianor and Marco da Silva Ferreira. The work is a twist on the pantsula – a vibrant and passionate dance that came into existence during the apartheid regime – and incorporates other dances, such as tap, step and gumboot.

The pantsula is much more than just dance; it is a lifestyle encapsulated in fashion, music, gesture codes and language with which the youth of the townships identify and express themselves.

For the first work in Via Injabulo, førm Inførms, Marco da Silva Ferreira explores the collective identity of the dance. Pantsula, house dance and other street dance styles are shaken into a cocktail of pulsating energy.

In Emaphakathini, Franco-Senegalese choreographer Amala Dianor draws on the personal histories of the performers to pull down boundaries between people and dance disciplines. The aim is to create a common new space, an “in-between space”, or Emaphakathini in Zulu.

The result is one big feast of rousing rhythms and shared spirit. Shouting, whistling, stamping your feet, clapping your hands. The infectious dancing of these eight dancers pulsates with the rhythms and heartbeat of the townships.

Marco Da Silva Ferreira & Amala Dianor are Big Pulse Dance Alliance Scaling Up programme Artists.

Header image © F.Couvreur

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A crushing performance, extremely dynamic, intense, with a great driving rhythm

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