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RAZE (article first published : 2007-06-8)

X-Hibit 37 is a new Durban dance company committed to promoting and developing the skills of dancers based in KwaZulu-Natal as they seek to deliver works of the highest quality with dedicated artists. Working across a range of media and artistic disciplines, X-Hibit 37 was founded in 2007 by Quinton Ribbonaar and Natasha Hosken and they make up the current company of four, along with Marise Kyd and Casey Swales.

Raze is X-Hibit 37’s first contemporary dance season which is nearing the end of its run at The Kwasuka Cutting Edge Theatre. It is described as “an exploration, a fusion of classical ballet meets hip hop; contemporary with an edge. It is an attempt to explore the relationship between movement, light and space. It incorporates a wide range of dance styles, original beats and innovative use of media.”

There’s also mention in the company’s publicity material that Raze is “a love story about dance, reigniting the passion that keeps us all alive. Each dream begins with a single thought – followed by a simple step. It’s hindsight that shows us who we really are.”

The choreography was created by the company and the dancers’ commitment is evident and compelling – it is indeed a love story about dance. You have to be very dedicated in the arts world these days in Durban. Times are tough and audiences need constant encouragement to be enticed away from their homes after dark. The title of the season takes its reference from two words sounding the same but with different spellings and completely opposite meanings: Raze (erase, demolish) and Raise (awaken, arouse, incite, elevate, heighten, invigorate).

The Kwasuka Cutting Edge Theatre auditorium has been wrapped in shiny black plastic and four long swathes flow from the ceiling onto the stage floor, resulting in a striking setting. As the show starts, these swathes lift and become a silver-ribboned canopy. In a quirky move, the programme opens with the indication that the show is over so are we at the beginning of the end … or maybe, it’s the end of the beginning?

Multi-award winning dancers both, Quinton Ribbonaar and Marise Kyd are no strangers to dance audiences and their emotional maturity and style is evident in Raze. Standing their ground opposite these two experienced and highly talented dancers are Natasha Hosken and Casey Swales. They particularly impressed in the first piece as a tender and naïve loving couple who become the target of attention by a manipulative older duo. Extremely tall and supple, Casey gives the impression that he is possibly more comfortable in a gymnastic style but time will tell.

The choice of music is good as is the use as props. Pieces of the ever-versatile silver slinky tubing (used in air-conditioning ducting) came into its own in one item as surreal and stately bending figures. All in all, an interesting and enjoyable evening of dance and I hope to see more from X-Hibit 37 in the not-too-distant future.

Raze runs at the Kwasuka Cutting Edge Theatre until June 10 with shows nightly at 19h00 (Sunday at 18h00). Tickets R50 (R25 students and pensioners) booked through Thandeka on 031 305 6889. More information from Natasha on 073 188 3031 for details. Tickets available online at www.strictlytickets.co.za, at www.catalinatheatre.co.za or www.goingplaces.co.za – Caroline Smart




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