by Rocio Chacon
© Todd Antony
This past February 2023 I had the opportunity to travel to Cape Town with a photography job. During the trip I contacted JazzArt Dance Theatre, one of the most established dance companies in the continent. Founded in the ´70, it has worked over the years with the mission to challenge social stereotypes through contemporary dance and to celebrate the uniqueness of African stories, movement and expression.
Among the dance trainees I met and photograph at their studios at ArtsCape, I met Thimna Ndwe, a young dancer full of thirst for life and courage to discover her path. The series ´Resilience´ arise from a session where we explored movement in relation to the maleable material of the fabric within the environment of rocks, strong wind, and a warming sun. Afterwards I asked her about her perception of the concept of resilience. These were her views about it:
´My idea of resilience is the outcome and process of adapting successfully to challenging life experiences. I understand resilience because I’ve experienced it emotionally and mentally. It is really emotional because growing up I’ve had a single parent and whenever there’s cases whereby I needed both my parents, they would both argue about their past and that has really affected me. Even now, my mom is pressuring me to go to tertiary and is showing no support towards my dancing right now. It’s really draining but I’m doing my best to keep myself going because I can not do something that my heart and mind are eager to do right now. I always look back to my childhood background and where I am today and tell myself ‘I can’t give up now’.
Because I’ve been through a lot to get where I am today and can’t just let go.
And I believe I was born for greatness and ready for any challenge in life.´
All images © Rocio Chacon
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