Mitumba - A Happening

Europe – East Africa (2013)

Using a typical African flea market, the makers of Mitumba combine contemporary dance with music and drama and create an exciting performative setting that directly includes the audience. (Academy of the Arts of the World Cologne)
Mitumba* uses the circulation of second hand clothing as a starting point for its artistic work to protest the mechanisms of the neoliberal market. Mitumba asks how mobility and a constantly changing society affect the artistic practice. Searching for new forms of presentation a collective of choreographers and dancers from Kenya, Tanzania, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, the United States and Taiwan that have known each other for years, combine ethics of the discourse with aesthetic principles.

Mitumba is a Swahili term, literally meaning “bundles”, refering to plastic-wrapped packages of used clothing donated by people in Western countries. The term is also applied to the clothing that arrives in these bundles in East Africa.

All pictures were taken by Tom Trambow at the happening at tanzhaus nrw, Dusseldorf, April 2013.


Isack Peter Abeneko/TZ, Judith Bwire/KE, Viviana Escalé/ES/GER, Mu-Yi Kuo/TW/GER, Michele Meloni IT/GER, Holger Mertin/GER, Kingsley Odiaka/NG, Kepha Oiro/KE, Juliette Omolo/KE, Joseph Suchy/GER, Stephanie Thiersch/GER
Guests: Clint Lutes/USA/F, Fa-Hsuan Chen/TW/GER, Martin Rottenkolber/GER, Lyoudmila Milanova/BG/GER, Marcela Ruiz Quintero/CO/GER, Nina Leonards/GER.

Dramaturgical Advice: Sybille Meier
Technical Direction: Niko Moddenborg
Management: Béla Bisom
Production Management: Ines Disselbrede
Organization: Sabine Hegel


Akademie der Künste der Welt, Auswärtiges Amt, RheinEnergie Stiftung Kultur, KunstSalon Stiftung, Goethe Institut Dar Es Salaam, Tansania, Goethe Institut Nairobi/Kenia, tanzhaus nrw, Düsseldorf

What an experience. Interaction, contribution, joy and love, loads of energy, political skits, taken directly from real life; and in the centre of everything stands the collective, critique is carried by optimism, all in all the performance is a social event.
(BNN, November 2013, Katharina Lohmann)

The choreography skilfully masters repeated shifts into the artificial world of stage dance. The happening, it works. Only remains to hope that it opens not only our senses but our minds, too.
(AKT – Die Theaterzeitung, April 2013, Klaus Keil)

An impressive performance.
(Deutsche Welle online, May 2013, Philipp Sander)

Thiersch stages boundless joy of life that interchanges with danger.
(Westdeutsche Zeitung, April 2013, Bettina Trouwborst)