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VUYANI DANCE THEATRE (article first published : 2002-06-15)

Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance 2002, and his company, Vuyani Dance Theatre, will show their true colours in the Eastern Cape in July. The company will premiere Colour Comfort on the Main Programme at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown at the Rhodes Theatre with performances from July 1 to 3, and then moves on to the Port Elizabeth Opera House on July 5 and 6.

Maqoma's new project, Colour Comfort, is an exhilarating meeting of movement and sound, expressed through irony and humour in two original works, Southern Comfort and Rhythm Colour. He combines cultures, forms and histories, creating richly textured choreography. Music is a vital component of his work and his adventurous collaboration with Daniel Hutchinson and the formation of the Vuyani Ensemble, encourages a dialogue, a conversation between dancer and dance, music and instruments. Colour Comfort embraces many South African music genres of the 1970's and Maskanda forms the basis of works that see dancers and musicians crossing, colliding, meeting and speaking.

Southern Comfort, first performed in 2001 with Shanell Winlock, hones in on how perceived ideas define where we are, where we meet and what we miss. It mirrors human behaviour, attitudes and reactions in a uniquely humorous manner. The work exposes the power games human beings play. This time round, Maqoma is partnered by Constance Kau from Moving Into Dance Mophatong (MIDM).

In Rhythm Colour, Maqoma searches for colour, texture, shades and form in movement; he investigates the past, allowing an introspection of the fragility of humankind. He explores movement in its metaphoric state, taking it to infinity, continuously searching for answers. He touches on reality, which continues to be abstract. If reality surfaces, then it is to honour the image of Hector Peterson being carried, wounded, during the 1976 schools riots and to celebrate the life of a drag artist, Miss Thandi, (Raymond Vuyo Matinyana who was born in Port Alfred and became an unusual cultural ambassador, paving the way for South African artists to work in Europe), who on the night before his death still went on stage to sing Sarie Marais.

Rhythm Colour completes the award-winning trilogy that began in 1999 with Rhythm 1.2.3and Rhythm Blues. A combination of dancers, four from MIDM where Maqoma trained and is now Associate Artistic Director, and three up-and-coming youngsters, Mafa Makhubalo, Nonkululeko Ntombela and Gaven Taele, reinforces the individual streak of every performer.

Maqoma is currently on tour with MIDM in Canada and will present an excerpt from Rhythm Colour on June 16 at the Korzo Theatre, Den Haag, as part of the Afro Vibes Festival. The Vuyani Ensemble will also perform the music from Colour Comfort at the New Music Indaba at the National Arts Festival at Rhodes University.

Colour Comfort is presented in association with the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown. This project has been made possible with generous assistance from the National Arts Council and FNB Vita Awards.

Colour Comfort is on at the National Arts Festival, Rhodes Theatre on July 1 and 2 at 19h00, July 2 at 14h00 and July 3 at 11h00. Tickets cost R38 and R22 for students. It then moves to the PE Opera House on July 5 at 19h30 and July 6 at 14h00 and 19h30. Tickets are R25 and R30, with concessions for groups of ten or more, students and pensioners.

Book at Computicket. For further information, contact Tammy on 083 440-4984 or visit www.vuyani.co.za




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