Choreographed and danced by Mamela Nyamza. Assistant : Hannah Loewenthal

This movement piece seeks to convey deeply personal and challenging issues of culture, tradition and a woman's evolving sexuality withing the customary rites and rituals of marriage, until she realises her true identity.
Artist's statement


C'est sur pointes que Mamenla Nyamza étend sa lessive, port altier et bras volubiles, sur un fil tendu sur le plateau, amorce d'un voyage qui décrit le parcours d'une femme indépendante, divorcéé, mére célibaraire et qui remet en question les valeurs et les patiques de la sexualité dans la culture Xhosa, Blonba, Bamako, Festival Danse l'Afrique Danse.

A stage flooded with red cloth. The bare back of a body assaults us. Washing is hung out and the body places a bucket upon it's bald head. Cautiously the body rises up onto pointe shoes previously concealed. Is this a body of a Western of African origin? Is this body male or a female? Finally the body turns... Identity is the theme in Mamela Nyamza's Hatched, which closed the penultimate evening of this year's Dance Umbrella. An autobiographical work, tells the story of a woman faced with a life of dualism: she is a South African performing in the UK, but also a dancer who is a mother.

Nyamza is a woman battling with anxieties about domesticity. She flits and falters about the stage, intermittently scrubbing the floor and rearranging clothes. Her son lounges under a desk, initially covered by a giant red cloth, as if still enclosed withing the safety of her womb. He barely notices her. But, as she potters about, her movement is peppered with moments of miniaturised ballet, performed with frantic, joyful release. Nyamza is battling with her new identity as a mother, while still clinging on to her life as a performer. But Nyamza also faces another conflict, as a South African performing in the West. Nyamza addresses this by juxtaposing movement vocabulary and accompaniment from both cultures, referencing both classical Western music and dance, and also traditional African scores and grounded movement. This is a sequel to her previous work, where she explored the changes in her life with the birth of her son. Moving on Nyamza has created a poignant story that speaks to anyone who has ever felt a conflict of their own identity and questioned where they belong in the world.
Lucy Jarvis in October 2011

Hatched

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