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DANCE AROUND THE SPECTRUM AT NAF (article first published : 2005-05-6)

Classical ballet, contemporary dance theatre with a social conscience, tap and gumboot dancing, Afro-fusion, ethnic traditional - the spectrum of dance in South Africa today is explored on the main dance programme of the National Arts Festival which will take place in Grahamstown this year from June 30 to July 9.

Topping the bill, Cape Town's richly costumed Sleeping Beauty is produced and staged by Elizabeth Triegaardt with choreography by David Poole (after Petipa) and the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra playing Tchaikovsky's romantic score, under the baton of Michael Hankinson.

In counterpoint, three innovative pieces showcase the creativity of leading South African contemporary choreographers.

Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner PJ Sabbagha's Petra uses the complex language of multi-media dance theatre to deconstruct ideas about masculinity through the theme of doomed love. Jennifer Ferguson will perform her original music and the dancers include Athena Mazarakis, Craig Morris and Nathaniel Stern.

In Juanita Finestone-Praeg's delicate and poignant 37 Degrees of Fear, an all-female cast engages with the body's memory of fear and exorcises its power to inhibit instinct and desire.

Gerard Bester's deliciously intimate six-episode Attachments features dancers Athena Mazarakis and Craig Morris reliving the stages of a love relationship.

Celebrating the expressive power of fusion, Windows is the joint creation of two artistic directors and their companies: Martin Schönberg and Ballet Theatre Afrikan with Adele Blank and Free Flight Dance Company. Both companies combine a number of dances languages: classical, contemporary, jazz and Afro-fusion. The narrative here (life in an apartment block) affords boundless opportunity for great dance moments.

Shoes, a second collaboration, sees two percussive dance codes striking sparks off one another as the young energies of Tap Talk Rhythm and the gumboot dancers of Corroboration share the stage.

The Eastern Cape Cultural Ensemble promises audiences a thrilling multi-sensory tour through the different dance worlds (ancient and modern) of their multi-cultural region.

More exciting dance features are expected on the Fringe programme.

Free Booking Kits for the Festival are available at selected Standard Bank branches and Computicket outlets. Booking opens at Computicket nationwide on May 9. Further information can be obtained by going to the website on www.nafest.co.za or phoning 046 603 1103.

The National Arts Festival, Grahamstown is proudly sponsored by the Eastern Cape Government, Standard Bank, the SABC, The Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and the National Arts Council.




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