South African contemporary theatre dance is as complexly political and culturally diverse as the country it has evolved in over the past 40 years. The Ar(t)chive endeavors to bring together various strands of this living heritage in a physical and virtual memory bank. The Ar(t)chive is the first comprehensive contemporary dance archive of its kind in South Africa and on the continent.
This repository and research resource, which is currently located in the School of Arts, (Division of Dramatic Art) at the University of the Witwatersrand, takes the form of documents, collections, clippings, programmes, artifacts, photographs and videos spanning four decades (mid 1970s to present day). The dance styles and forms represented include a range of contemporary theatre dance techniques, influences and approaches; indigenous South African rural and urban dances and rituals; classical ballet; Spanish dance; physical theatre and live art.
This project is managed by filmmaker and Wits Masters graduate Jessica Denyschen in tandem with theatre journalist and dance writer Adrienne Sichel as resident researcher and consultant. The Ar(t)chive is made possible through seed funding from the University’s Strategic Planning and Research Committee (SPARC 2012 and 2013).