Nadine Mckenzie, a 20-year-old performer using a wheelchair, a¬†single mom and a member of South Africa‚Äôs leading contemporary integrated dance initiative, Remix Dance Company, has just become the first qualified integrated dance teacher in South Africa. She recently attended the largest dance festival in Europe, ImpulsTanz in Vienna, where she completed her training with the world-renowned Alito Alessi.
A special fundraising performance¬†of Lovaffair will be given¬†next Thursday, 12 August, at 20h00 in Flipside at the Baxter to help Nadine¬†with the¬†costs that she incurred in order to achieve this milestone in her life, which included a loan which she needs to repay. Tickets for the fundraiser cost only R120 and include drinks and snacks after the performance.
This inspiring young dancer has been a member of the Remix since 2006. She has been crucial to the creation of Lovaffair and was due to perform in the new production in March but had to withdraw due to surgery.
Nadine is passionate about movement and dance. When she was just two years old she was involved in a serious car accident which left her paralysed from the waist down. She attended Astra School for physically disabled children and it was here that she started dancing after participating in workshops conducted and facilitated by Jazzart. At 12 she started ballroom classes with Gladys Bullock from the South African Circle of Dance and it was then that she started dancing using a wheelchair.
In 2006 she was invited to join the Remix Dance Company by Artistic Director Malcolm Black, who had seen her perform. Since joining the company Nadine has produced exceptional work and has established herself as a well-recognised figure within the performing arts community.
While recovering from the neck surgery which corrected an 18-year old injury, she was stunned by the devastating news that her mother, brother, uncle and three other family members had died in what was described as one of Cape Town‚Äôs most gruesome accidents on the N1 near Kraaifontein.
With the tragic passing of Nadine‚Äôs support base she is now left alone with her two-year-old son, Kaylim. The depth of her inner strength has carried her and most people around her through this trying time and it is her unfailing and positive determination that serves as a source of inspiration to many.
Her perseverance and passion were rewarded when the internationally respected Alito Alessi invited her participate in the workshop at the ImpulsTanz Festival in Vienna last month. He is the Artistic Director of DanceAbility International and widely regarded as a pioneering teacher and choreographer in the fields of contact improvisation, and dance and disability. This workshop is one of the few internationally recognised qualifications for integrated dance teachers in the world.
More than 300 dance artists, people with disabilities and those interested in working with people with disabilities from 18 different countries attended the three-week long DanceAbility Teacher Certification workshops.
‚ÄúWith Remix Dance Company I have found my second home,‚ÄĚ says the petite dancer gently. ‚ÄúRemix is at the forefront of dance innovation in South Africa; it constantly seeks to break down barriers between able-bodied and mobility-challenged dancers. It is a company that aligns itself with the international integrated dance movement and this is important for me.‚ÄĚ
Remix Dance Company‚Äôs Lovaffair, which had its world premiere in March this year, returns to Flipside at the Baxter for nine performances only from 11 to 20 August at 8pm nightly.
With this production the award-winning and leading South African contemporary integrated dance initiative, now resident at the Baxter Theatre Centre, also celebrates 10 years of innovative and groundbreaking work. This has been made possible through the generous investment of philanthropic international businessman Roger Jungblut, CEO of UAL‚Äôs Youngblood.
Directed by Ina Wichterich-Mogane, who is also their dance teacher, the five-member, full-time company comprises Malcolm Black, Lee-anne Meyer, Nadine Mckenzie, Andile Vellem and Marlin Zoutman. They are joined by actor, director and composer Bongile Mantsai and 2008 Fleur du Cap Best Actress winner Chuma Sopotela.
The production combines differently-abled dancers as well as actors and gives further meaning and expression to the term integrated dance. Artistic Director Malcolm Black explains, ‚ÄúFirstly the cast is so diverse, then there is diversity of bodies and styles and then we have two actors joining us. We are used to diversity but in this regard where we combine dance and drama we have less experience. So it is equally exciting and challenging.‚ÄĚ
Veteran dance and arts writer Adrienne Sichel said, ‚ÄúJudging by its track record and the transcendental sorcery of Lovaffair, this dance company isn‚Äôt only levelling the proverbial social playground, rife with prejudice, they are totally transforming it.‚ÄĚ Capetheatre.co.za said ‚ÄúLovaffair presents a compelling combination of dance and theatrical styles. Adhering to the demands of contemporary dance, the performance expresses the energy and emotion of the individual. In a fluid, yet striking use of the body, the dancers personify an aspect of the human condition – our ability to love.‚ÄĚ
In 2002 the company won the prestigious Arts and Culture Trust Award for the Cultural Development Project of the Year in recognition of its work in education and performance. In 2006 the company won the Western Cape Cultural Commission Award for its Outstanding Contribution to Disability and the Arts.
Remix explores and develops dance which values the honesty and integrity of the body. As the first and one of the longest-standing integrated dance companies in the country, Remix seeks, through its work, to simultaneously entertain, educate and challenge attitudes and policies in the human rights area with programmes of solid artistic integrity and excellence.
In October the company will perform their highly acclaimed Beautyfull with Jazzart Dance Theatre and SA Circle of Dance, and patrons who book for this and Lovaffair pay only R120 for the two.
Lovaffair opens on 11 August and runs until 20 August at 8pm nightly. Booking for the special fundraiser on 12 August or any other performance is through Computicket on 083 915 8000, online at www.computicket.co.za or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet countrywide. For discounted block, schools or corporate bookings, charities and fundraisers, contact Sharon on 021 680 3962 or Carmen on 021 680 3993 during office hours. Ticket prices range from R120 (Monday to Thursday) to R130 (Friday and Saturday).
For further media enquiries, interview or picture requests please contact Fahiem Stellenboom, Marketing Manager, Baxter Theatre Centre on 021 680 3971, cell 072 2656 023 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.