That's (Not Just) Entertainment: Dance As a Tool For Cultural Dialogue and Social Change

July 18, 2014 10:04 PM

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That's (Not Just) Entertainment: Dance As a Tool For Cultural Dialogue and Social Change

In 2013, Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT) became the first American dance company to appear in the 15th annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience in Durban, South Africa. JOMBA!'s founder Lliane Loots first connected with Deeply Rooted through the tireless work of Lorna Johnson, a DRDT board member and consultant on international exchange programs. Last year's appearance, sponsored by the U.S. Consulate General in Durban with funding from the U.S. Department of State's Arts Envoy Program, marked the beginning of a three-year creative exchange that has since been further supported by a MacArthur Foundation grant promoting international collaboration. DRDT Artistic Director Kevin Iega Jeff and Associate Artistic Director Gary Abbott have both commented on the impact the trip made on them as dancers, and as people. "It will inform what I do for the rest of my life... I felt complete," said Abbott about his experience in Durban.

This year it's Flatfoot's turn to make the voyage across the Atlantic, and what has now been dubbed the JOMBA! Initiative took the shape of four special events in opposite corners of the city of Chicago. Over the course of two weeks, Flatfoot and DRDT have shown work and participated in community sy...

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