South African dancer-choreographer Mcebisi Bhayi first came to Rimbun Dahan on a residency with Singaporean choreographer Joey Chua. He returned to Malaysia for a short residency in September 2008, during which time he taught a workshop in Afro-contemporary dance to members of the local dance community.
Bhayi was one of the three finalists of the Shell Road to Fame Talent Search in Johannesburg in 1995. In 1999 he participated in the Community Dance Teachers Training Programme at Moving Into Dance. Bhayi was a nominee for Most Promising Male Dancer in Contemporary Style at the FNB Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg in 2001. In 2002, Bhayi won the Peak of the Stepping Stones Award. He attended the FNB Dance Umbrella Young Choreographers’ Residency in 2007 and 2008. His works ‘Free Us Now’ and ‘Muntu’ were featured in FNB Dance Umbrella in 2007. He recently attended the Young Choreographers’ Residency in Senegal in March-June 2008. He performed in Gregory Maqoma’s ‘Skeleton Dry’ at FNB Dance Umbrella in 2008.
20 excited dancers filled the dance studio at Rimbun Dahan, to take part in Mcebisi’s Afro-contemporary dance workshop. It was an exhausting high-energy romp of furiously contracting rib-cages, cat-like leaps, and endless sequences. Mcebisi’s constant cheery exhortations — “Keep on pouncing!” — and fantastic accompaniment on the drums by Rimbun Dahan resident artist Justin Lim made it an experience to remember. Afro-Contemporary dance combines the spirit and technique of African, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Brazilian and Contemporary dance styles. It is a grounded, rhythmic dance form with movements originating from the pelvis and core.
Photos below by Foo Chiwei.