I am Rhythm is a dance production promoting South Africa's young street talent. Developed by Morgan Njobo and the cast members in partnership with Edinburgh's Dance Base, the production is to premiere at 2016 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The dance show tells a story of Rhythm, the one that runs in the blood and dictates the hearbeat in South Africa. The production includes both tribal and modern music and dance with a strong focus on showcasing the youth culture of South Africa where urban dance and beats set the rhythm for a new generation of Sowetans. Music and dance are intertwined with storytelling and audiovisual effects to enrich the story of Rhythm.
Having co-directed and co-produced After Freedom: New Rhythms of Soweto Musical, Morgan Njobo aims to continue his work with young talented people from the South African township of Soweto. The development of the dance show is based on close cooperation with the cast who bring in their talent, ideas and skills. As the cast members represent different dance styles, the show is a genuine representation of tribal and street rhythms fused to create a unique show.
Audience and industry reviews of previous production
Unbridled enthusiasm - Remarkable athleticism - Emotional and powerful voices - Really talented group
Dynamic, exciting, and fun! - Great arrangement - Incredible – do more! - Great performance
Exciting! Lively – fun! - Really good feel-good factor - Very entertaining
‘The dance itself is a highlight of the show: spirited and energetic, exploding across the bare stage. The soundtrack, too, is skilfully put together, the voices of the talented cast layered on top of one another to form a rich aural tapestry that alludes to the sounds of both past and present.’ [Fest Mag]
‘In the course of the story the cast make good use of many opportunities to show us their moves; their energy is as phenomenal as their happiness is infectious – they clearly love to dance; it transports them from the tough hardships of Soweto life to a world of hope and opportunity. These people are also wonderful musicians, Sphiwe’s brother’s singing of the ancient tribal tunes he loved at school contrasting beautifully with the more modern songs of the city streets. The outstanding drummer – who is not above a bit of comedy himself – really gets the beat going and the audience clapping.’ [Edinburgh Reporter]
We are in discussion with After Freedom Productions about their new production, I am Rhythm, at Dance Base as a potential part of our Edinburgh Fringe Programme 2016.During the festival there are so many performers of all kinds vying for attention in the streets. They work hard and sell hard but are often showing familiar ideas. This young group of African Street dancers however were spellbinding in their enthusiasm, but also in the new dance styles they were showing which were most definitely African but of a new and fresh era. Combining moves from their cultural roots but making them brand new, the company were a joy to watch. Dance Base invited them to join for one pop-up showcase (Heads Up) and we were again delighted by their professionalism and invited the co-ordinator and director to open a dialogue with us about visiting Edinburgh again as part of ourprogramme.Since our purpose-built premises opened in 2001, Dance Base has established a fine reputation as being the essential venue on the Fringe Festival for small-scale contemporary dance companies and individuals locally and internationally.We are renowned in the industry for presenting a varied and multi- award winning programme of the highest standards, offering a wide spectrum of dance styles and physical theatre.I hope that this application will allow the work to be shown at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it will draw a varied international audience and be seen by promoters from across the world and giving them the best conditions in which to show their work at such a prestigious festival, in the supportive environment of Dance Base.Yours sincerely,Morag DeyesArtistic Director
Aims and objectives
The ultimate aim of the production company and developing the project is to create employment opportunities to talented unprivileged youth from Soweto. I am Rhythm is to take us closer into creating a sustainable model of improving soft and hard employability skills in the performing arts industry as well as promoting contemporary South African culture defined by new generations.