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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

ROMEO AND JULIET (article first published : 2008-07-5)

Dada Masilo, 2008 Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance, created a new production of Romeo and Juliet for The Dance Factory to appear on this year’s main National Arts Festival programme as part of her award. She was assisted by PJ Sabbagha and Gregory Maqoma, the latter being responsible for the electrifying ball sequence.

Dada Masilo is completely mesmerising. No wilting violet, this Juliet, but capricious and flirtatious until she meets and falls in love with Romeo (strongly portrayed by Daniel Mashita). I had to keep forcing myself to take my eyes off her to watch the other dancers.

Gustin Makgeledisa presents a stern Capulet so irritated with his recalcitrant child that he bodily picks her up and deposits her at the feet of her suitor, Paris (Lesego Ngwato). With her expressive face, Nicola Haskins is a delight as the nurse. Other performers worthy of mention are Vishanthi Arumugam (an elegant Lady Capulet), Songezo Mcilizeli (Mercutio) and Lulu Mlangeni (the volatile Tybalt) – yep, Tybalt was a lady in this production.

If you know your Romeo and Juliet, you’ll need to keep your eyes wide open to spot the characters as the storyline is more suggested than explicit. If you don’t know Shakespeare’s play, then just sit back and enjoy an incredible dance piece! I enjoyed David Hlatswayo’s lighting design as well as the choice of music which was mainly taken from Nigel Kennedy and Vanessa-Mae interpretations of Bach and Vivaldi works. – Caroline Smart




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