OYO- Ombetja Yehinga Organisation’s 10-member dance troupe will premiere Well Wish Ya, a collaborative multi-media dance production at the National Theatre of Namibia on 27 March 2019.

In 2008, OYO had its first dance project at the National Theatre titled ‘The Namibia Odysseus’. Following the success of that production, OYO got an opportunity to establish the OYO dance troupe in 2009. For ten years now OYO has trained and nurtured young dancers. OYO is the first, and currently only, troupe in Namibia with dancers on its payroll. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, OYO decided to return to the National Theatre with Well Wish Ya.

Well Wish Ya will feature the work of internationally acclaimed visual artist, Kevork Mourad, who is of Syrian/Armenian heritage.

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Kevork Mourad

RELATED: Visual Artist Kevork Mourad Talks Upcoming ‘Well Wish Ya’ Collab with OYO

“I am very excited about this collaboration. The OYO group is new to me, so I’ve prepared work based on what I’ve imagined of them. I will complete the piece on the ground with them, incorporating ideas and lines based on their movements and energy. I want to be a vehicle transmitting the history we are talking about,” Kevork said.

The piece will also feature UK-based dancer Elliott Augustine. Elliott is an upcoming dancer currently doing a master in performing arts with the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. He is attached to Phoenix Dance Company in Leeds, UK. Credits include Windrush by Sharon Watson, Lord of the flies by Scott Amber and Curtain raiser for sleeping beauty (Matthew Bourne)’ by Lee Smikle.

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Elliott Augustine

Joining Elliott and the ten members of the OYO dance troupe will be Nikhita Winkler, West Uarije, Daniel Kuhlmann and LeClue Job. Thirteen students of the Nikhita Winkler Dance Theatre project complete the cast.

Well Wish Ya features a brand new soundtrack by renown Namibian composer Ponti Dikuua. It is produced and choreographed by OYO’s Director, Philippe Talavera.

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Philippe Talavera

“Working on such a huge scale dance project is challenging. We want to create something totally new. We look at how the past influences us and how, in turn, our actions will influence future generations. The piece is inspired by the idea of reincarnation and questions whether we always repeat the same pattern or can, as the human race, learn to grow and become better. In the wake of tragedies such as what just happened in New Zealand, observing worldwide – and in Namibia – the growing threat racism poses, this piece will ask important questions. In the past Namibia had to survive a genocide. Nowadays, we fight over greed, corruption, tribalism and homophobia. What legacy are we leaving for our children?” Philippe said.

The production was made possible through financial support from the Prince Claus Fund and sponsorships from Qatar Airways, Londiningi Guest House, DbAudio and the Nikhita Winkler Dance Project.

A free matinee is opened to schools on 26 March. Public performances will take place on 27 and 28 March around 8pm at the National Theatre of Namibia. Tickets are N$120 in advance at Computicket and will be sold for N$150 at the door.