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SNAKE WITH SEVEN HEADS (article first published : 2002-08-24)

The Snake With Seven Heads is a dance production that tells an exciting and compelling story. The story is set in KZN and is written by acclaimed storyteller and writer Gcina Mhlope and performed by Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre.

The story is about Manjuza, a beautiful singer and dancer who dances and entertains at wedding ceremonies. Being very talented and popular she is unable to meet all of the numerous requests she receives for engagements. One of the people she refuses casts a terrible curse on her and her family.

While out hunting, Manjuza's husband a heroic and brave hunter is turned into a seven-headed snake. Manjuza is distraught and hides him in the backroom. She becomes more and more worried as she is unable to make excuses to her two children for his absence.

In a dream Manjuza's grandmother appears and consoles her. She asks Manjuza to help undo the curse by dancing at seven different weddings in quick succession. Manjuza does so, but on the final wedding, near tragedy strikes. In her haste to do the final performance Manjuza forgets to lock the door of the backroom after feeding her husband.

After several exciting interludes, the show moves to a happy conclusion and uses a range of dance forms from traditional African dances to Indian dance, flamenco, and ballet. The dances include an athletic hunting dance, live percussion, and a great deal of comedy, live singing, mime and drama. The costumes and masks are eye-catching and colourful. Narration, in both English and Zulu if necessary, makes the action clear and the storyline easy to follow.

The value of this production lies in many aspects: an appreciation of indigenous cultures, the use of a variety of dance forms; the combination of words, mime, music, song and dance; and the teaching the resilience of the human spirit and to learn to trust oneself and ones talents.

The production is available for learners at their schools from September 9 to 20 at a cost of R5 a head. More details or bookings from Mala Govender on 031 369-9481.




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