In a glamorous event hosted at Durban’s Alliance Française on Tuesday 25 April, Durban’s Lliane Loots was awarded the honour of Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letter by the Ambassador of France to South Africa, Mr Christophe Farnaud.
In a moving acknowledgement and celebration of Loots lifes work in growing, making and supporting dance in South Africa, and in conjunction with the support she has offed to French artists visiting and working in South Africa, this Knighthood was gently and beautifully bestowed by Ambassador Farnaud on his very first visit to Durban.
The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is a medal of honour that is bestowed by the French government in recognition of significant contributions to the arts and the propagation of the arts and in significant connection to also enriching the French cultural inheritance. It is an award that was established in 1957 by the French government and, in 2017 three South African – all in the dance sector - will be receiving it; Lliane Loots, Gregory Maqoma and Georgina Thompson.
Loots presently holds the positions of Dance Lecturer in the Drama and Performance Studies Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Howard College Campus). She has a Master’s degree in Gender Studies and is presently completing her PhD looking at contemporary dance histories on the African continent. She is delighted to hold the founding position of Artistic Director for the Centre for Creative Arts’s annual JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience (a festival that will make its historic 20th edition in 2018). She has also recently been invited onto the Grahamstown National Arts Festival’s Artistic Committee (for dance).
Loots founded FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY as a professional dance company in 2003 when it grew out of a dance training programme that originally began in 1995. As the artistic director and resident choreographer for FLATFOOT DANCE COMPANY (now the longest surviving professional dance company in Durban), she has won numerous national choreographic awards and commissions and has travelled quite extensively in Europe, America and the African continent with her dance work. Loots and FLATFOOT are also known for the vast amount of youth dance education and development work done in KZN, and, through JOMBA!, for putting Durban on the global dance map.
This award has honoured all of these divergent parts of Loots’s life as a cultural worker in Durban and her award was accompanied by support from the FLATFOOT company as they stood by her to receive the medal of honour.