Art and dance collide to bring unique production to life

Young artist Luke Rudman has collaborated with choreographer Candice Johnstone to launch the Contemporary Junior Dance Company’s first production
FOR THE LOVE OF DANCE: Young artist Luke Rudman has collaborated with choreographer Candice Johnstone to launch the Contemporary Junior Dance Company’s first production
Image: CHERIE THERON

Showcasing Port Elizabeth’s talents, a choreographer and a renowned artist have come together to merge their love of art and dance.

The fruits of their collaboration will be showcased at the Port Elizabeth Opera House in May.

The idea to merge their talents came about when choreographer Candice Johnstone launched the city’s first dance company, the Contemporary Junior Dance Company, in November.

After 22 dancers from different backgrounds auditioned successfully for roles with the company, Johnstone was excited to bring young talent, Luke Rudman, on board.

Inspired by romanticism and Picasso, especially with it being the month of love, Rudman, 19, was only too happy to assist Johnstone in putting the artistic photo shoot together.

The Nelson Mandela University fine art student used the dancers’ bodies as his canvass.

“Blending the love of art and dance makes sense,” Johnstone said this week, adding that dance had the ability to unify people in a unique and beautiful way.

While Rudman draws inspiration from an array of sources — he won the Adult Inspire Through Creativity category at the prestigious Stomp! Awards in Cape Town in December for his presentation on the environmental affect of plastic — this time about, he was inspired by Picasso.

Johnstone said the production, which she had not yet given a title to, would tackle social issues and focus on unity, something they were both passionate about.

The photo shoot was their way of launching the show.

“My company is all about exposing young talent,” Johnstone said, adding that too many youngsters were leaving the Eastern Cape to seek opportunities elsewhere.

The 22 dancers she picked, come from diverse backgrounds and dance genres.

It was not surprising then that Johnstone picked someone as young as Rudman to partner with.

“His talent exceeds his years,” she said of the artist.

Rudman began exploring performance art in 2017 and has exhibited his work in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Makhanda and Mauritius.

Johnstone, meanwhile, established herself as a promising dancer in 1992 when she graduated from Pretoria Technikon with a National Diploma in Ballet and National Higher Diploma for Ballet with distinction in 1993.

A career highlight was being selected to perform at former president Nelson Mandela’s inauguration concert in 1994.

The production will be staged at the Opera House from May 21 to May 23.

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