South Africa: Has Anyone Asked What Dancers Need Before Heading for #Jerusalema?


Despite the life-giving power and joy of dance being a refuge for South Africans in these tough times, the government continues to fail the arts fraternity and dancers with its lack of financial support and a clear plan to keep the sector alive. That this is happening during Heritage Month adds insult to injury.

To most, dance is a form of expression and art. During lockdown, dance demonstrated its power to heal and unite people around the globe, providing much-needed feelings of wellness and a moment to breathe when so much was, literally and figuratively, on our necks, as we joined the hashtag #ICan'tBreathe.

At its best, dance reveals meaning over despair. Dancers at their best are the shamans who, at times of need, provide healing. They are trained to observe and replicate with freedom to invent, in culturally and politically relevant ways. Dance is not politics, but becomes political by virtue of circumstances.

Many of us formed our careers in our backyards in the 1980s, in the heart of apartheid South Africa, experimenting with movement as the air around us filled with dust and the smoke from burning tyres and teargas; as we had to dodge rubber bullets and...

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