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PREMONITIONS (article first published : 2007-05-12)

Highly acclaimed Durban-based choreographers David Gouldie and Lliane Loots have – as the publicity material affirms – “delved into their own head and hearts” to come up with a new season of cutting edge and politically risky contemporary dance theatre with Premonitions.

Running for only a short season at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, it features the multi-award winning Flatfoot Dance Company as well as Flatfoot’s Training Company in two new works titled Premonitions: Part One and Premonitions: Part Two.

Back after a two-year break from choreography, David Gouldie blazes back onto the scene with Part One, a quirky and often highly-amusing piece that explores sexual tensions. Using Yann Tiersen’s evocative soundtrack from the film Amélie and played against black and white movie clips of a windswept street, he creates deliciously absurd burlesque-styled movements from a string of characters dressed somewhere between Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit and pixilated penguins! This is a good showcase for the Flatfoot Training Company who show promise of strong talent soon to be seen on the local stages.

The main dancers (the Flatfoot Dance Company itself) are dressed in corseted layers and frilled pantaloons and sleeves. They create some beautiful and complex interlocking movements. A piano lies on its side while a female figure dressed as a bride lazily swings above it, hanging from a rubber tyre. Oh yes, and the dancers wear sunflowers – lots and lots and lots of sunflowers - and each time the dancers make a new entrance, the sunflowers have moved to a different part of the body. David is fascinated by this flower which arches itself to follow the movement of the sun. “Follow the light … find the light” is his maxim in this piece. Out of a humble supermarket trolley, a glitter ball is born to the strains of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.

Lliane Loots’s Part Two is a much darker and more disturbing piece with poetic text written especially by Durban poet Sally-Ann Murray. Featuring only the FDC members – Thulile Bhengu, Jabu Siphika, Sifiso Khumalo, S’fiso Magesh Ngcobo and Nkululeko Ntombela - it deals with male power, madness and slaughter as well as the abuse of women and children. The women are in blood-red costumes, the males flourish belts as they swagger. Behaving impeccably as she is lifted in the air, strapped onto a back or snatched away from female protection is Sisanda Siphika who must be all of six months. While the trail of broken dolls dropped onto the floor is a chilling reminder of the many children who are abused every day, Sisanda offered a living representation of the vulnerability of children.

Mention must be made of Wesley Maherry’s lighting design as well as Karen Logan and Rike Sitas’s video work.

Premonitions runs nightly at 19h30 from May 9 to 13 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. Tickets R65 (R30 students/pensioners/scholars). Book through Computicket.

NB: As this programme contains some suggestive sex as well as violence, infanticide and the slaughtering of a goat (on video clip), it is considered that “Premonitions” is not suitable for audiences under the age of 14 years. - Caroline Smart




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