THEATRE REVIEW: Dance Umbrella unfurls again with a new director and home
Mamela Nyamza will take the reins of the resuscitated festival now that its 2018 demise has been reversed
Dance Umbrella, SA’s biggest contemporary dance festival, died on the opening night of its 30th anniversary when director Georgina Thomson announced its end before a poignant double bill from its protégés, Gregory Maqoma and Vincent Mantsoe, at the University of Johannesburg Centre for the Arts in 2018. This death, due to a lack of funding, had been a long time coming. When First National Bank withdrew its sponsorship of 17 years in 2011, Dance Umbrella was left with no main funder. Life support came in the form of a three-year contract with the Johannesburg Arts Alive International Festival in 2012 and a one-year term with the National Lottery as the main sponsor for 2015.
During these uncertain and trying times, Dance Umbrella started a Facebook conversation with those who would be affected by the festival’s demise. A strong sentiment from that debate was a suggestion for the festival to restructure and reposition itself for a new start. With the end confirmed in 2018, dance...