I have been itching to see Bok since last year. My old roommate, a Rhodes drama alumnus, ignited my excitement after raving about it. But although the pros of Bok outweigh its cons, not all my expectations of the production were met.
Henk Opperman performs in Bok in Grahamstown on 9 July 2015, at the National Arts Festival. Underground Dance Theatre, in association with the Waterfront Theatre Company, presents an interpretation of Njinsky’s The Afternoon of a Faun. (Photo: CuePix/Mia van der Merwe).
Bok – presented by Underground Dance Theatre and choreographed by Kristina Johnstone, Cilna Katzke and Steven van Wyk – is a re-imagining of Vaslav Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun, through a South African perspective. The four-man cast aims to explore the flexibility of identity between human and animal.
However, the programme notes are clearer than the performance itself. I loved watching the movement. The dancers effectively portray their animalistic sides by crouching and stalking like lions in the wild, but the transitioning back to humans wasn’t overtly apparent.
The dancing was impeccable. I was moved by the dancers’ strength and confidence portrayed through their bodies. Although not completely synchronized, their movements were fluid and full. The clean lifts and sharp accents of the choreography were awe inspiring, as was the lighting.
The dancers’ bodies are perfectly lit, so that you can see the strain on their muscles, the steam rising from their bodies and the accentuation of each leg extension, lift and chest heave.
I recommend Bok for the sheer beauty of dance over its underlying themes.
Cue Student reporter
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