A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

festivals
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
KZNPO advert DTA advert .
See also our Classified ads
 

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

GRAHAMSTOWN - DANCE (article first published : 1999-07-6)

Making its debut appearance in South Africa at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival in Grahamstown last week was the highly acclaimed Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from the United States. It was started in 1982 by Bill T Jones with Arnie Zane with whom he had previously co-founded the American Dance Asylum in 1973. Described as an unabashed original, Bill T Jones chooses dancers for his company that are individual, eclectic and have a varied training in athletics and acting as well as classical, modern and folk dance.

All of the items were choreographed by him, the first of which - Out Some Place - was commissioned by the Kennedy Centre and the American Dance Festival. Set to a jazz score by Fred Hersch, it was first seen in May this year in the United States and features the full company in a cocktail-party type of atmosphere. Hands tapping thighs provide percussive sounds and focused spotlights give a luminous quality to wineglasses held on high. Occasionally, a hand clutching a glass or a leg would appear round the curtain from offstage. At all times, there was movement, activity and inter-action, however small and removed from the performance area.

This was followed by a duologue between dancers who performed within a circle, mirroring each other’s movement and remaining apart, yet together. Titled Duet, it is set to traditional African music and John Oswald’s sound collage using a traditional Kyrie. While beautifully performed, it lost its impact by being just a little bit too long.

Then the audience got what it had been waiting for, a solo piece by Bill T Jones in which this extraordinary and unconventional dancer was seen to best advantage. Ultimately focused and exquisitely controlled, this piece was all too short. After it was finished, he asked for the house lights to go up and made some pithy comments to audience members in the front seats who had been talking during his performance, claiming that he “liked being talked to, not at!” There was much sympathetic response from the rest of the audience. It was all done with a smile but the message was firmly delivered, just the same.

D-Man in the Waters – Part 1 was the final piece in the programme, providing a complete change of mood with the full company in boisterous and joyful spirits in full flight across the stage. The work is dedicated to the late dancer Demian Acquavella, and explores swimming as a metaphor for trust and support. It won Bill T Jones a 1987-1989 Bessie Award for choreography. Also featured in this piece was Germaul Yusef Barnes who was a sensational hit last year in Bongani Ndodani’s Uhambo – The Pilgrimage.


 A current news
crafts
dance
festivals
drama
film & tv
literature
music
supper theatre
visual arts
miscellaneous

leisuresmart
letters to the editor

classified ads

 A archives
crafts
dance
drama
festivals
film & tv
literature
music
supper theatre
visual arts
miscellaneous

letters

home page


a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart