Meike’s Residency @ Indoni

I was in the lucky 17% of successful applicants to be awarded a grant from Arts Council England/ British Council’s Artist International Development Fund to collaborate with award winning choreographer Sbonakaliso Ndaba and Indoni Dance, Arts and Leadership Academy in Cape Town, South Africa. In March this year, I already spent a week there to orientate myself, and to meet Sbo, Jenny and Balu – three highly inspiring women who manage to make a big difference in the lives of dozens of underprivileged young adults – while creating stunning dance performances:

Indoni dancers performing at Artscape, Cape Town July 2015

Sbo and I met in Liverpool 16 years ago, when she was collaborating with Annette Vetterli and Nu Crossroads Dance Theatre at LIPA and I subsequently visited her in South Africa a couple of times, but then the years went by and we’ve only been reconnecting last year again – to plan the collaboration I’ve been dreaming about for 16 years…
Opportunities needed to arise, and finally the dream is becoming reality – thanks to ACE and British Council!

During my stay in March I had the opportunity to observe Indoni’s daily training and rehearsal routines in Gugulethu, a township near the airport, meet the incredibly hard working dancers, join them for a meeting with their personal sponsoring mentors from wealthy backgrounds, witness Indoni’s outreach work in other township areas and last but not least, have a good go at playing marimba, built by the talented Sky himself:

Marimba Jam with Sky and Mercia

We also had a little ‘songwriting session’ with Sbo and the dancers, a very different experience compared to my European expections – nobody was able to sit or even stand still despite it being Friday afternoon after a long week of hard physical work! The outcomes where uplifting and inspiring and we might even incorporate some live singing in the future show, the vocal talent on top of their dance skills is mind blowing!

I feel very, very privileged to be (at least a temporary) part of the Indoni family, everyone made feel so very welcome and kept looking after me – walking to the train station through the township with my new friends around me I never felt unsafe.

Read more about Indoni here:

Dancing With Hope and Indoni on Facebook

Soon I will travel again and spend August/September in South Africa to write and produce some music for Indoni’s end-of-year show UKWAKHA, which will be performed at the Magnet Theatre in Cape Town end of September, and as you can imagine, I am super excited – it’s a huge musical challenge for me, considering the sheer energy of Indoni’s performances – I wonder if my tame European music will ever be able to live up to that… Wish me luck! I am intending to take some drumming lessons, investigate further into traditional instruments and possibly collaborate with local marimba players and drummers for the show, on top of composing, recording and producing music with my mobile studio – technology rocks! We’ll have to see, and I’ll go with the flow.

So yes, I am a bit anxious but equally buzzing about these exciting and enriching opportunities, and I will do my best to post regular updates on here for anyone who’s interested in the developments 🙂

Thanks for reading!