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GRAHAMSTOWN - DANCE (article first published : 1999-07-7)

Tribhangi Dance Theatre under the direction of Jayesperi Moopen became the pioneers of dual culture juxtaposition with a work they presented at the first FNB Vita Dance Umbrella in 1990. Mixing the African and the Indian cultures, Tribhangi produces fascinating pieces which feature dancers and musicians exchanging rhythms in conversation. Since its inception, Jayesperi Moopen has found that she seldom has to look for dancers, they generally seek her out and ask to be part of this interesting, popular and multi-ethnic company.

Tribhangi is presenting two works at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival in Grahamstown under the title Talas in Conversation. The first is a new piece featuring Hanita Muthray and Pule Kgaratsi. Titled Chakras (which means wheels in sanskrit), it deals with the seven energy points of the Hindu culture.

Using saxophone, clarinet as well as bells and various percussive instruments and alternating with backing tracks, Chris Tokalonís playing alone is a reason to see Talas in Conversation. Performed to projected visuals of religious images and icons, this is a gracious and spiritual piece.

Talas in Conversation sees Chris Tokalon joined by three other musicians, Glynn and Miriam Berridge (who performed in Chakras) on drums with Magendran Moodley on mrdingam. The female dancers have exchanged their flowing robes for black leotards and orange and white strip skirts with beaded necklaces and the men are decked out in shiny orange pants. The mood is energetic often-frenetic, vibrant and African/Indian in style. There are question and answer sequences between performers where one dancer offers an African traditional gesture, such as heavy foot stamping, which is responded to by the other dancer in Indian style, lighter and less aggressive. As the pace hots up, three of the musicians move onto the stage and interact with the dancers.


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