Confluences 9 set the decolonial ball rolling at UCT School of Dance in July 2017

The UCT School of Dance presented Confluences 9: Deciphering decolonization in Dance Pedagogy in the 21st century from 11 – 14 July 2017. The Dance sector including academics, artists, dancers and choreographers descended on Cape Town for this significant calendar occasion.  The experience ushered in an intense period of reflection on calls for decolonialism that has reverberated across South African universities since 2015.

What does decolonialism mean for those who are engaged in Dance curriculum preparation, delivery and assessment? How does the subject of Dance Pedagogy meaningfully respond to the diverse opinions and paths already explored on this complex and charged topic? These are just some of the questions which the keynote speaker, Lliane Loots addressed. Multiple award winner for her choreographic works, Loots is also seasoned Dance Lecturer: Drama and Performance Studies Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) , and current Artistic Director of Flatfoot Dance co. (in Durban). 

Other delegates from as far afield as Brazil, India, Peru , Zimbabwe and Canada expressed their enthusiasm and interest to enter into this important dialogue. Their insights where presented in a variety of performative formats including papers , workshops  and performances. VIP guests included Dr Anita Ratnam, Chennai based dancer, choreographer, director of Arangham and the portal Renown for her fearless philanthropy Ratnam is the most recent recipient of the prestigious Presidential award for Contemporary dance in 2016 in India. Director of UCT School of Dance and Chair of Confluences 2017, Dr Gerard M. Samuel noted, “We are delighted to present extracts from Dr. Anita’s iconic A Million Sitas and to have her make the subject of global dance languages as a response to decolonial debates accessible. Contemporary Indian dance is so much more than Bollywood”.   

Confluences offers six workshops ranging from explorations of codification in African dance, mpantsula to Flamenco; applications of Contact Improvisation for high school learners, to new directions for contemporary dance in Africa. Delegates can expect innovative presentation formats including videolinks, films and an art exhibition, Dancing Alabaster . This features the work of celebrated Danish artist, Søs Brysch and an accompanying collection of poems written by Samuel following their earlier cultural exchange based in disability arts.  

The Confluences 9 collection of papers can be found here.