His primary medium of expression may be the body, but the work of Mlu Zondi, this year’s winner of the Standard Bank Award for Dance, explores the definition of interdisciplinarity.
Working for years as a petrol attendant to fund his studies, Zondi’s dedication to his art is admirable, and Cinema will no doubt showcase this passion and a performance philosophy that continues to blur artistic boundaries.
Acty Tang, also a previous Standard Bank Award winner, explores multiculturalism in his autobiographical solo Inscrutable. Tang’s avant garde, Butoh-inspired work explores unusual spaces, or ways of using space. For this production, the venue limits audiences to 35 people. With only five performances, fans of his work will be disappointed to know that it is already sold out.
Vincent Mantsoe has become a legendary force of both movement invention and performance, and his San promises to be one of the most exciting things on the dance menu this Festival.
Dada Masilo, the Standard Bank Award winner of 2008, returns to tell another of the classics with her own voice. As we have come to expect, she uses the ballet’s classical composer as a base from which to work, with musical additions by Phillip Glass and Arvo Pärt. An engaging performer, in a cast of 11 others, it will be interesting to see what she brings to Swan Lake.
The “swan” has been explored previously by dance artist Mamela Nyamza, whose production Hatched features on the Arena, and is an expression of her coming of age into a womanhood where she is more concerned with issues than representation of stories. With their quirky individual movement styles, these powerful young women are definitely both worth watching out for.
From explorative movement to more classical styles, La Rosa Spanish Dance Theatre explores the rhythms and sentiment of human emotion in Sentimientos. Featuring a unique musical ensemble combining Western and flamenco instruments, this tight production promises to impress with an interplay between the sounds and rhythms created by feet and hands.
Ballet lovers are in for a treat as usual, as Cape Town City Ballet presents Veronica Paeper’s sensuous Spanish Carmen to the Cape Philharmonic’s emotive Bizet score. Those preferring traditional tutus had better book for Ballet Bonanza, which features Les Sylphides, with some highlights of the classical and more modern repertoire.
Away from the Main programme, it becomes more difficult to control the definition of “dance”. Although there are only two items listed on the Arena programme in this category, there are many other pieces that explore the use of the body, often with a musical basis. On the Fringe, physical theatre ranks quite highly on many agendas, with First Physical’s foray into Butoh, with Ama-No-Gawa, and their New Voices programme usually containing at least one student gem. Many other productions that could as much be considered dance as anything else including works by Nicola Haskins, Athena Mazarakis, Jori Snell, Lucy Hind and David Toole.
And there is a host of traditional and indigenous dance items to choose from. Tshwane University of Technology presents a programme featuring works by Andile Sotiya and Debra Gush that should be of interest, as should the various offerings from the Sibikwa Arts Centre.
Debbie Turner’s Cape Dance Company is a firm Fringe favourite. In addition to their company show that features works by Esther Nasser, Redha and American choreographer Carlos dos Santos, they present a show by younger performers, and a musical theatre production.
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