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Groove Biennale DORMANTYOUTH

Groove Biennale ups the ante with DORMANTYOUTH in an experience featuring Pabi Cooper this weekend

Groove Biennale is the fourth and final Night Embassy residency that has seen the other three ambassadors, Unmuted, Other Village People and Kombonation creating bold new nightlife experiences at iconic spaces in Jozi and Soweto, with the support of Jägermeister. Now it’s DORMANTYOUTH’s turn to make their mark, with a nocturnal pavilion that will host music performances and exhibitions, as well as celebrate queer communities. This weekend’s event features Pabi Cooper, as well as a ballroom dance-off co-hosted with Vogue Nights Jozi and the city’s top DJs Lelowhatsgood, Pona, NODIGGITY, Danger Ingozi, Phatstoki, Rose Bonica and The Fly Machine Sessions, amongst others.

Who is DORMANTYOUTH? Thelma Ndebele is a non-binary Master of Architecture whose interest lies in music as an alternative translation of place and archive of lived space. Their role as DORMANTYOUTH allows them to shape interactions between body and space via music, providing an eye-opening lens on how sound can affect the relationship between architecture and art, as well as the individual and collective.

When DJing, DORMANTYOUTH gravitates towards electronically produced bass music, especially sounds that boom from underground scenes in musically undiscovered parts of the world. DJing at identity specific and femme focused events such as Vogue Nights Jozi and Pussy Party has become a method of research, providing access to the unique landscape of contemporary Johannesburg nightlife.

What is Groove Biennale? The Groove Biennale is a curated series of underground parties branded as ‘The Ante Experience’. Nested inside an architectural shell meant for large scale contemporary exhibitions (Biennale), the Ante Performa, Ante Kiki and the Ante Rave will bring the fresh alternative electronic music and performances that Joburg locals and its honorary citizens have to offer,” says DORMANTYOUTH. Groove Bienniale is about “Exploring architectural forms, contextualised into the experience of music-based events at night, the Groove Biennale is a large-scale exhibition which showcases the creative side of the construction industry, investigating the relationship between music and space. ” DORMANTYOUTH explains

Where is it taking place? “My collaborators and I are designing and building a modular scaffolding structure that is the biennale pavilion where all these parties will happen in, on, under and around.” Collaborators include spatial practitioners, architects and researchers Izak Potgieter, Nothando Lunga, Dylan Fernandes and Gio Rech. This will all be taking place at Twin Park, 96 2nd Ave, Bramley, Johannesburg this weekend.

“The Ante Experience is a play on words, marrying the alt/anti aesthetic with the architectural term ante, which describes a room/space preceding a main hall. Snapshot interactions of the party during each event will be recorded and redisplayed as hologram projections integrated into the structure of the main pavilion structure.”

“I had been studying Joburg’s alternative nightlife scenes and their lack of architectural typology at the Graduate School of Architecture at UJ from 2019 to 2020.”

For DORMANTYOUTH, “Night Embassy Joburg is the perfect chance to prototype my architectural ideas and actually realise my design concepts. This is important for other young professionals in the built environment, to look beyond what our professions have historicallyshown us. I think this residency will show an alternative perspective of architecture beyond its technical and formal predisposition.”

They believe, “Groove Biennale has the potential to push the limit on what can be done within the aesthetics of Joburg groove. We have seen the clubs with VIP areas and dress codes and we are now in an era where that doesn’t necessarily equate to a good time. This residency could shed more light on alternative events being sought after that are safe and enjoyable.”

Tickets are free. Yep, FREE ninety nine. Check out the lineup below, and get your tickets here.

Ante Performa – Friday 8 July 19:00 – 02:00 

A party that integrates dance exhibitions in which the pavilion structure will be part of the choreography and movement.

19:00 Nouveaux 


21:15 Pona X sof

22:00 NKLY (dance performance)

22:30 Anna Phoenix (dance performance)

23:00 LEX SIREN (dance performance)

22:45 Seventhgaze X DJ HOT ATHENA

00:15 0_0_0_0 (Faces ) X Danger Ingozi 

Ante Kiki – Saturday 9 July 18:00 – 02:00

A ballroom inspired queer event where there will be cash prizes for winners of the Vogue Femme Category and the newly introduced category, The DJ Battle. DJs can enquire for more information on how to enter this category directly to @DORMANTYOUTH on all socials.

18:00 Lotion

19:00 Skits

20:00 Phatstoki 

21:00 LeloWhatsGood X DORMANTYOUTH 

Original Hunty to MC Ballroom Category :

21: 00 KI Category ( Runway With a Twist, Open To All)

21:45 KI Category (Vogue Femme with a Twist, Open To All)

22:30 Fake Love

23:30 Pabi Cooper 

01:00 Gyre

Ante Rave —  Sunday 10 July 18:00 – 02:00

An African electronic music party in collaboration with the femme led dance music night Bae Electronica who will be exhibiting photos from their Suid Electronica event.


18:45 Nhloso

19:30 Fly Machine Sessions 

20:15 Hlengi 

21:00 Rose Bonica

21:45 Rea da Soul X Starzo Rtee


23:15 Aux Alaio

00:00 Unticipated Soundz

00:45 TeePeeMassox

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