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NAF DANCE (article first published : 2004-06-2)

A top company of ballet-trained dancers from the EU will perform a new work by a young South African choreographer during the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown (July 1 to 10 2004). The best of the West in creative collaboration with their peers from the South! This is part of the synergy driving that great arts jamboree that takes place in Grahamstown each year.

The choreographer is Sbonakaliso Ndaba (recent winner of a DaimlerChrysler Award) and the company is Introdans. Under the title Emotions, this internationally acclaimed troupe will perform a total of five pieces showcasing their commitment to high quality performance that is accessible to the general public. With kind assistance from the Dutch Fund for Performing Arts, Royal Netherlands Embassy Pretoria and DaimlerChrysler.

Fiery Canadian soloist Guillaume Côté will perform in Bizet’s romantic Giselle presented by the South African Ballet Theatre with the full KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Gary Gordon’s Rhodes-based First Physical Theatre Company takes a dark moment from the biography of great Belgian Surrealist painter Rene Magritte as the catalyst for a lyrical narrative meditation, The Unspeakable Story.

Sashaying in from Réunion, the Pascal Montrouge Company proves how delicious it is to be very French and very Indian-Ocean at the same time. Witty and full of beans, they play with The Story of the Kids Next Door, using the key of technical virtuosity to unlock the poetry in homely routines like breakfast. They come to the National Arts Festival with the kind assistance of the Alliance Française and the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS).

Similarly, life as we live it is the pre-occupation of dynamic home-girl Portia Lebohang Mashigo, 2004 Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Dance. Her programme, Staircase – one way up! features three 30-minute pieces incorporating personal experiences of members of her Lebohang Dance Project.

Directed by Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, the Vuyani Dance Theatre Project’s Ketima is also rooted in the here and now. The piece tracks life-phases from crawling through toddling to the time when human thoughts, feelings and actions get hooked up in the mainstream. ‘Why are we so restless?’ is one of the questions it raises.

Portia Mashigo and Gregory Maqoma were both trained under Sylvia Magogo Glasser, the pioneer of Afrofusion. As a tribute to her 40 years of tireless creative output and cultural activism, Moving into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) (which she founded) presents Sylver Synergy: a collage of 10 of her seminal works directed by Gregory Maqoma. Contextualised by documentary footage and photographs, it shows the links between dance, politics and social issues in a turbulent period of South Africa’s history, when the arts helped to fight for human rights.

Equally socially engaged, PJ Sabbaga’s Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative presents There’s no Room in this Bed, using physical theatre, acting, spoken text, live music, illusions and animation to show that secrets are a disease, debilitating personal bonds. Inspired by the pandemic of silence around HIV/Aids, the story is about all of us and it is dedicated to honest, open interactions. The company includes acclaimed soloists like Gerard Bester and Athena Mazarakis.

One of the National Arts Festival’s annual must-see shows, the Eastern Cape Cultural Ensemble is back with a blast of cross-cultural charisma. Irresistible rhythms, glorious colour and costumes and oodles of talent melded with skilful direction into a whammy of a production!

The National Arts Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary alongside the centenary of Rhodes University and 10 years of democracy in South Africa this year, and it is proudly brought to you by the East Cape Government, Standard Bank, the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, SABC and the National Arts Council.

More information from GR Communications on 021 886 4900 or 082 820 8584 or grcomm@mweb.co.za




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