Monday 24 August 2015

Andile Vellem (Artistic Director of Unmute Dance Company)

Unmute Dance Company (UDACO) is an integrated company of artists with mixed abilities or ‘disabilities’ whose vision is to inspire the inclusion of ‘disabled’ persons into the main stream society through cutting edge and original performances, workshops and exchange programs etc.

The company came into existence in 2013 after Youngblood Arts and Culture Development had funded a creation process of a work entitled “Unmute”, which was later supported by National Arts Council, Dance Forum South Africa and British Council. The work is choreographed by Andile Vellem (Artistic Director of Unmute Dance Company), it is based on his experience as a dancer who is deaf and has been dancing professionally for more than 13 years. “Unmute” is a way of Andile finding his voice as a choreographer, using sign language as the source of the movement vocab. With this creation he brought together artists from different backgrounds to find and explore what they would like to un-mute; feelings, perceptions, social norms and expectations; while endeavouring to deconstruct what society perceives as dance. After a successful reception of ‘Unmute’ performance UDACO was formed to continue this work of Arts and Ability integration.

UDACO is currently the only existing Integrated Dance Company in South Africa, based in Cape Town as part of the Artscape Resource Centre Incubator programme.  With its cutting edge works it has been invited to be part of South Africa’s merger arts festivals like Johannesburg Dance Umbrella Festival, Cape Town’s Infecting The City, Gipca’s Live Art Festival etc. The company continues to reach to schools and communities through Outreach performances and workshops that promotes integration.