Mamela Nyamza

Biography

Mamela Nyamza is a South African choreographer and art activist. She studied ballet at the Pretoria Dance Technikon and has been appointed visiting scholar at the Alvin Ailey New York School of Dance. This is where she began to address the classical genre of dance, by deconstructing the traditional methods and logic of ballet and contemporary dance. Her works include the innovative dance project The Dying Swan (1998), Hatched (2007) addressing the fight against patriarchy, and the The Meal (2012) – a project against elitist ballet are autobiographical works that trample on the norms of the classics. Her later works Black Privilege, Pest Control and Grounded address the topics of unrecognised heroines of the African struggle for independence, miscarriage of justice within the arts formalised institutions or contemporary narratives behind political discourses of dialogue and performance between artists and audience. Her newest work Hatched Ensemble (2023) is performed by ten ballet-trained dancers and includes an opera singer and an African tradition instrumentalist. Mamela Nyamza has received numerous awards, including the IMBOKODO Award for DANCE (2016). Besides, she was chosen as the Legacy Artist for JOMBA! Dance Festival for the Year 2023 and was invited to take part in the Dance Future II: Focus Pina Bausch 2017 in Germany, where the iconic and visionary dancer Pina Bausch was celebrated. For the seasons 2020 and 2022, Nyamza was based at the Theatre du Châtelet (Paris) as a choreographer for the African production Le Vol du Boli, under the direction of the Malian film director Abderrahmane Sissako.

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