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July Events Include Symposium, Mandela Day Celebration,
Summer Intensive Performances

CHICAGO, IL — Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (DRDT), which creates world-class dance inspired by the African Diaspora in a community dedicated to nurturing artists, supporting human relationships and sharing common values through engaging in dance, announces the second in a three-year collaboration with Flatfoot Dance Company of Durban, South Africa, under the banner The JOMBA! Initiative. The goal of The JOMBA! Initiative is to develop a long-term cultural exchange between the two dance organizations that fosters artistic creativity, professional development and employment opportunities, with the shared aim of using dance as a medium to engage in constructive social change.

The JOMBA! Initiative: Community Symposium
Monday, July 7, 2014, 7:30–9:30 p.m.
Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago
$10 general admission

What is possible in a cultural exchange between Americans and South Africans? What can we learn about our commonalities and differences with regards to slavery in America and apartheid? DRDT and Flatfoot artists reflect on how visiting each other’s countries has informed their perspectives about the global community, and both companies perform excerpts from their respective repertories.

Mandela Day Celebration: Dance and Social Change
Friday, July 18, 2014, 3–5 p.m.
Washington Park Arts Incubator, 301 E. Garfield Blvd., Chicago

Vuyiswa Tulelo, South African Consul General of Chicago, joins Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and Flatfoot Dance Company artists for this intimate performance and discussion about South Africa today. This program honors Nelson Mandela, those who served in the anti-apartheid movement and those who affect change through community partnerships and volunteerism.

Summer Intensive Performance
Saturday, July 19, 2014 7:30 p.m.
Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
$25 general admission

Participants from across the country come to Chicago to participate in DRDT’s crown jewel, its annual Summer Intensive, which culminates in a performance of new and beloved choreography by the Summer Intensive artistic team, also featuring a special performance by Flatfoot Dance Company. DRDT’s Summer Intensive offers technical rigor and artistic development within disciplines of dance. During the four weeks, participants engage in a strong curriculum fostering learning and personal growth, along with opportunities to experience the company’s repertory through forums, workshops and performance.

In 2013, DRDT became the first American dance company to serve as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. at the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience during the international festival’s 15th year in Durban, South Africa. During the festival, DRDT collaborated with Flatfoot, which, like DRDT, is committed to using dance as a medium for social change. The U.S. Consulate General in Durban sponsored Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Dance Theater with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Arts Envoy Program.

DRDT received a grant from the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Program to support the second year (2014) of this three-year project. In February and March, DRDT Artistic Director Kevin Iega Jeff returned to Durban to serve as an artist-in-residence with Flatfoot, creating workshops for residents from the surrounding communities at University of KwaZulu-Natal. The July events in Chicago (above) are part of this second year of collaboration. Support includes grants from The Joyce Foundation and The Boeing Company and partnerships with the South African Consulate of Chicago, The University of Chicago’s Arts Incubator and Old Town School of Folk Music.

In 2015, the third year, DRDT returns to Durban to participate in JOMBA! when the project culminates with a collaborative work, which DRDT will also include in its 2015 season in Chicago and New York.

Flatfoot Dance Company
Flatfoot Dance Company, based in Durban on South Africa’s East Coast in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, works with the University of KwaZulu-Natal to host the annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, Africa’s largest contemporary dance festival. This unique African contemporary dance company works with both memory and history to develop politically and socially charged dance and theatre work. Since 1995, Flatfoot prides itself in not only offering dance theatre work that has won numerous awards, commissions and invitations from all over the world, but also training and education programs throughout urban and rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal.

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
The mission of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, founded in 1995, is to re-imagine and diversify the aesthetics of contemporary dance by bringing together modern, classical and African-American traditions in dance. In its uncompromising pursuit of excellence in performance, the development of new choreography, the training of dancers and the creation of a diverse audience, the company seeks to demonstrate how art and beauty play a transformative role in society.

Deeply Rooted programs are partially supported by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, the Irving Harris Fund, Lake Shore Chapter of the Links, Inc., MacArthur Foundation funds through the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund and the Deeply Rooted Family of Friends. Special thanks to Ballet Chicago for their continued support.

For information about Deeply Rooted’s 2014 activities, please call 312-795-9777 or visit deeplyrooteddancetheater.org.

Photo by Sandro.

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