Entertainment / Arts And Books

Nandipha Pantsi
1 minute read
6 Mar 2014
7:00 am

Moods via movement

Nandipha Pantsi

Eight dancers in black cloaks move strategically from one side of the stage to the other.

SUMMERTIME. Dancers from the Vuyani Dance Theatre portrayed
changing seasons through contemporary dance. Picture: John Hogg.

Their faces are covered, but their bodies tell a clear story. It’s winter, the season associated with loss and despair. The days are short and the evenings long. The sounds of the violin evoke sorrow and longing. In this highly energetic and engaging dance performance, choreographer Gregory Vuyani Maqoma takes the audience on a journey from a grim winter to a summer where hope in new beginnings gives light and the promise of prosperity.

The performance depicts the relationship between the human race and Mother Earth, showing the destruction brought about by humans while embracing the beauty and hope that the planet provides. The dancers’ emotional performances evoke anger and sadness in some parts, and humour and laughter in others.

The music changes. The dancers remove their heavy cloaks to reveal flamboyant dresses. Summer is finally here.

Strong stomping turns into fast, light pattering. The live band is revealed on the stage, creating a captivating multidimensional performance. Through their solo performances, the dancers also share stories of sadness, rejection and joy, depicting seasonal changes within human beings as well. The seasons not only bring changes to the world but also on the human psyche.

The second segment of the show sees the dancers revealing more of their individual personalities to the audience via different interpretations of contemporary African dance. At some points, it feels like an exciting episode of a dance show, where the dancers and audience cheer each other on, revealing their unique personal moves. The dancers’ engagement with each other, the band and the audience is perhaps the most engaging aspect of this show. Maqoma’s narrative is simple yet powerful and it is conveyed superbly.