â€œEnigmatic Bodyscapesâ€ is from a series and editorial feature about contemporary dance in todayâ€™s South Africa. South African contemporary dance is an enigmatic art form that is a mix of many influences, such as: ballet, ball-room, dance theatre, jazz, tap dance, Indian dance, as well as traditional tribal dances, street dances, uniquely South African dances such as Toyi Toyi, the gumboot dance, Isipantsua, Sbhujwa and afro-fusion. During apartheid, contemporary dance championed the causes of freedom and democracy for the majority black population. Today, it stages performances in theatres in Johannesburg and Cape Town to enthusiastic audiences - with dance performers from all races. Dance schools, although struggling for government funding (as are all the arts in South Africa), are springing up across the country led by talented dancers and choreographers, many of whom have lived, trained and worked overseas.
Chris Kirbyâ€™s photographic practice encompasses documentary and fine art. Much of his work draws from his fascination with the continent of Africa and its people. He was admitted to Kingston College of Art and Design (UK) and later obtained a diploma in journalism from the British College of Journalism. He specialises in the areas of: culture and identity, beliefs and religion, socio-economic issues, marginalised communities and aspects of daily life. He made his first visits to East and Southern Africa in the 1960s. A chance visit to the township of Soweto in South Africa during the troubled years of apartheid made a lasting impression on him, and post free democratic elections made the first of many visits there, living and working in the township. Chris works mostly in the urban environments of Africa and steers clear of the stereotype imagery so often associated with the continent. He relates to urban and modern Africa (and African diaspora) â€“ its fashion, style, music, street culture, attitude. Chrisâ€™s photography has been exhibited in the UK, Europe and USA, has featured in numerous print and online publications, and won recognition in international awards. He lives in Norfolk, England and occasionally Cape Town, South Africa.