FATC’S RURAL DANCE CENTRE
In 2015 The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative (FATC) establishes the new Rural Dance Centre in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga. For 2015 this centre’s programming is supported by RMB and NAC Flagship Project funding. The Rural Dance Centre, to be established on the Sabbagha Family Farm, is poised to become a vital, unique and vibrant hub within the South African and international dance landscape that is dedicated to:
- Excellence in artistic research, practice and production
- Improved Access to arts education and arts practice for all
- Social transformation and the upliftment of Rural Communities
THE MPUMALANGA ARTS PROJECT – MAP (2015 NAC FLAGSHIP PROJECT)
The Dance Centre will not only become the new home base for the artistic programme of The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative but will become the site from which it launches the Mpumalanga Arts Project (MAP), the first major project implemented at the Centre. MAP’s activities will:
- Extend the development of FATC’s educational and rural outreach programme that impacts the rural community through skills development, mentorship programmes and the establishment of networks for dialogue and sharing
- contribute to the growth of the South African national dance industry through the establishment of residency and mentorship programmes for Young Artists, the establishment of networks, and the development of alternative models of artistic sustainability
Projects that will be initiated at the Rural Dance Centre, as part of MAP, include:
- Regional Rural Outreach Projects
- A National CBO Leadership Programme
- A weekly Saturday School for learners from the Emakhazeni area
- International and National Residency Programmes for Young Artists
- Projects focused on the creation and development of Innovative Creative Productions
- The Rural Dance Centre Hub dedicated to the establishment of networks that connect and engage artists from rural, national and international contexts to each other and to producers and platforms that disseminate work
Commitment to Sustainability and Green Practices
The Dance Centre, dedicated to sustainable green practices, will be entirely powered by solar, wind and hydro-power. The Centre’s commitment to sustainable practices that link the environment, traditional and contemporary arts, culture and education, is yet another reason why it will stand out as a key co-ordinate in the national and international dance landscape, making it the Rural Dance Centre that is off the grid, but firmly on the map. This commitment to sustainable practice on a functional level is reflected in each and every aspect of the Centre’s activities and functioning. It aims to contribute towards the sustainability of each individual that enters its doors, its immediate community and the broader dance industry that it serves.
What does the Rural Dance Centre mean for artists?
In the presence of silence:
The Dance Centre in Emakhazeni, Mpumalanga, offers the performing artist who engages its residency and artistic programmes a space for focused learning, sharing, interaction and creative research, free from the distractions of urban life.
While there is nothing to replace urban complexity and the opportunities it offers the performing artist, in an equal and opposite way, there is nothing that can replace the possibilities offered by a rural setting. This is a sentiment echoed by RACA (Rural American Contemporary Art), an organization that links artists working in rural settings across the USA, who advocates for the wealth of possibilities that emerge within the complex interrelationship of humans and nature in such rural settings.
There is no other arts centre in South Africa that can offer an artist what The Rural Dance Centre does at this scale. Situated in the tranquil setting of Emakhazeni, the Dance Centre would offer artists who engage in its residency and artistic programmes an immersive experience which allows them the unique privilege of focused investigations far away from the invasive distractions inherent in urban life. It offers artists a tranquil work space that is simultaneously creatively stimulating.
While a handful of residency programmes exist for dancers and dance-makers in South Africa the Rural Dance Centre in Mpumalanga is the ONLY INCUBATOR of its kind that offers:
- this kind of focused work space,
- a high standard of mentorship,
- access to inspiration from the natural environment and
- an engagement with our social and cultural heritage
These conditions allow for an INCUBATION process for the artist that will catalyse authentically unique creative processes.
The centre opens the possibilility for relationships to be made and conversations to be had – that can not take place in any other context.
What does the Rural Dance Centre mean for Rural Communities / social transformation?
The rural areas of South Africa have historically been impoverished areas with a severe scarcity of access to skills and resources in general. Access to arts education and practice has arguably been lowest on the list of priorities in these areas. And yet, it is precisely this access to the arts that holds the key for the upliftment and transformation necessary in these rural parts of the country. The current national government focus on rural programmes reflects this understanding and furthermore sees the value in stimulating the economies of rural areas through increased artistic activity in these areas. Apart from stimulating and inspiring people to create their own opportunities, arts practice can also significantly contribute towards job creation in rural areas. These two factors alone can make a marked impact on the rural economy.
Most of the activities at the Dance Centre in Emakhazeni would be geared towards its immediate rural community. Through its programmes and projects the Centre would be dedicated to the skills development, mentorship and showcasing of existing rural arts organisations and groups, school children, youths and women. The Rural Dance Centre would also become a hub that creates networks that connect rural arts organisations across the country, builds audiences for rural arts initiatives and grows recognition of youth programmes in their respective communities.
The rural communities in turn have a great role to play in the enrichment of the artists participating in the Dance Centre’s programmes with whom they directly engage. Rural communities and Young Artists who collaborate in the Centre’s projects will be involved in a skills transfer which dramatically foregrounds the wealth of knowledge embedded in rural spaces, experiences and narratives. This re-framing of the skills flow between those from rural and urban backgrounds in itself plays a significant ideological role in the upliftment of the morale of rural communities.
What does the Rural Dance Centre mean for the SA dance Industry?
The establishment of The Rural Dance Centre provides the South African Industry with a unique centre that is committed to artistic and creative integrity and the development of dance in South Africa.
It provides the South African dance industry with additional platforms for the showcasing of work and the creation of networks that connect artists both nationally and internationally. It also contributes to the development of South African dance industry through its research programmes and a focus on incubators for Young Artists who are given the space to develop their own choreographic signatures through the creation of socially responsible art.
For more information on any of the programmes and activities at the Dance Centre please email: firstname.lastname@example.org