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Black ! White ?

CN D - Centre national de la danse 2009

Choreographer(s) : Xaba, Nelisiwe (South Africa)

Present in collection(s): Centre national de la danse , CN D - Spectacles et performances

Video producer : Centre national de la danse

Integral video available at CND de Pantin

en fr

Black ! White ?

CN D - Centre national de la danse 2009

Choreographer(s) : Xaba, Nelisiwe (South Africa)

Present in collection(s): Centre national de la danse , CN D - Spectacles et performances

Video producer : Centre national de la danse

Integral video available at CND de Pantin

en fr

Black !... White ?

Created in 2009, “Black! … White?” was co-produced by several Centres de développement chorégraphique (CDC), at which the piece was also performed. In this creation, Nelisiwe Xaba continues her critical approach, with the touches of humour she had begun to use in her previous solos.

On a black and white stage that looks a little bit like a comic strip, the artists enter while interacting with animated characters that are shown in a live video projection. A hybrid of dance, video animation and stylisation, the piece “Black! …White?” plays on the various meanings of the terms “black” and “white”, and explores social codes, stereotypes and expressions of language.

In the programme which accompanies the piece, N. Xaba writes: “The starting point is a fine, grey line, heavy and solid, between the black and the white. A line which divides the world into two parts. It is not fixed. It changes every second. A woman alone and desperate in Brooklyn, Soweto or Kinshasa, damages her skin with a chemical lightening cream, in the hope of winning back her lover; what is going on in her head?In Africa, in America, in Europe, black has become the colour of despair, of defeat, of poverty, while white is the colour of winners, the rich and the famous. Crossing this line, transcending cultures and mentalities, frightens and traumatises. What happened to Steve Biko's favourite slogan: Black is beautiful?” [1]

[1] N. Xaba, Roubaix Gymnase programme for “Black! … White?”, 18 - 19 February 2009.

Press quotes

http://www.artlink.co.za/news_article.htm?contentID=24045

Latest update : September 2013

Xaba, Nelisiwe

Born and raised in Dube, Soweto, Nelisiwe Xaba began her vibrant professional dance career of more than 20 years in the early 90's when she received a scholarship to study dance at the Johannesburg Dance Foundation.  In 1996 she was awarded a scholarship to study dance at the prestigious Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London where she studied various forms ballet and contemporary dance techniques under the artistic direction of Ross McKim. Returning to South Africa in 1997, Xaba joined the Pact Dance Company and later launched a freelance dance career in which she worked with various esteemed choreographers, including Robyn Orlin. She is also a distinguished teacher having taught in Soweto, Johannesburg and Bamako, Mali.

Xaba's  solo career has entailed working in various multi-media projects and collaborating with visual artists, fashion designers, theater and television directors, poets and musicians.  Xaba's seminal works Plasticization and They Look At Me & That's All They Think have toured various parts of the world for the several years. The latter piece, inspired by the Hottentot Venus (Sarah Bartmann) saw Xaba collaborate with fashion designer Carlo Gibson of Strangelove.

In 2008, Xaba collaborated with Haitian dancer and choreographer Kettly Noel to create a duet titled Correspondances – a satirical look into the politics of women to women relationships, which toured various continents in South and North America, Europe and Africa.

In 2009 Xaba premiered her piece Black!...White?, produced by the Centre  de Developpment Choregraphique  ( CDC),  which toured  throughout France.  In the same year Xaba produced The Venus, a combination of her solo pieces, the earlier work They Look At Me  with Sakhozi says non to the Venus (directed by Toni Morkel), originally commissioned by the Musee du Quai Branly.  Xaba's work is informed largely by her feminist stance on racial politics which challenges stereotypes of the black female body and mainstream cultural notions of gender.

In 2011 Xaba became one of artists represented by the Goodman Gallery South Africa which represents a pool of leading contemporary artists on the African continent. In her recent work Uncle and Angels Xaba collaborated with film-maker Mocke J van Veuren to produce an interactive dance and video performance piece which questions notion of  chastity, virginity testing, purity, and tradition, while at the same time casting a wry glance at the power relations encoded within corporeal interaction through performance and projection.

Since its premiere at the 2012  Dance Umbrella Uncles & Angels has toured Germany, France, and Austria and is being restaged for Dance Umbrella in September 2013 (whose poster and programme uses an image of Xaba in this work) . Xaba is currently working on a new collaborative piece Scars & Cigarettes ( to accompany Uncle & Angels 2013)  in which she continues to probe the socialization of men and women into performing specific gender roles in society.  This time the focus is on the different rites of passage, or rituals such as male circumcision, performed by men.

Also in 2013 Xaba was selected to present The Venus in Venice at the South African Pavilion at the 55th la Biennale di Venenzia (Venice Biennale) presented from June 1 to 24 November 24.
 

She was awarded several prizes at the Rencontres chorégraphiques internationales de l’Afrique et de l’Océan Indien (African and Indian Ocean International choreographic encounters) - Danse l'Afrique Danse (organised in Paris, Carthage and Bamako by the Institut français).

Source: http://theartchive.co.za/

Teaching:

1995 Soweto Dance Theatre Company and Soweto Dance Theatre Youth

More Information:

https://www.academia.edu/2898707/Speaking_with_Nelisiwe_Xaba
Updated: February 2014

Black ! White ?

Choreography : Nelisiwe Xaba

Interpretation : Nelisiwe Xaba, Stacey Sacks, Rob van Vuuren

Stage direction : Toni Morkel

Video conception : Lukasz Pater

Lights : David Perreault Ninacs, Philippe Ferreira

Costumes : Carlo Gibson / Strangelove

Other collaborations : Création son Mocke J. van Veuren - Administrateur de tournée Pethso Vilaisarn

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