‘Curious, furious and poetic’

NAF

Bringing together different aesthetics, contexts and languages, the dance programme at this year’s National Arts Festival interrogates and celebrates questions of identity, culture, spirituality and sensuality.

At the top of the bill is 2017 Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance Thandazile RadebeFrom brand-new works by well-known choreographers and dancers, to reinterpretations of classic works, the 2017 programme represents a ‘curious, furious and poetic game of different aesthetics, contexts and languages, oscillating between perception and attribution, between history and that which is current and urgent,’ says Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, convenor of the Artistic Committee’s dance panel. Thandazile Radebe explores her fascination with the idea that, as human beings, we are required to have names. In Sabela, she excavates the tensions between names and numbers, bodies and biometrics, space and passwords. ‘Through our names we want to find out how it feels to be infinitely more complex than we are,’ she says. ‘Through our names we want to be free from ourselves and transcend through each other until we are one. ‘Sabela seeks to encourage consciousness of one’s rightful existence in the space of life no matter where you are or who you are… It seeks to reaffirm that in us lies an answer for why we are here. Sabela seeks to instil hope in the modern world…’

A curious, furious and poetic game of different aesthetics, contexts and languages, oscillating between perception and attribution, between history and that which is current and urgent

The Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative will present With Nothing But Silence They Turned Their Bodies to Face the Noise, choreographed by PJ Sabbagha and Athena Mazarakis in collaboration with the company. ‘…Noise is a response to the historically dense present: a socio-political moment that is laden with the compacting of intercepting, unresolved and recurring patterns of oppression. In this world premiere of …Noise, “bodies” emerge at the centre of this historically charged present. The interplay of live performing bodies, the dialogue and production of sound, and the placing of this “dance-theatre” work in a design environment that evokes the “slow rhythms of growth and decay” around us, becomes the basis of a work that tackles the volatility of the imploding present.’ Dada Masilo’s Giselle will make its South African debut in Grahamstown, thanks to a partnership between the University of Johannesburg and the National Arts Festival. Masilo, a former Standard Bank Young Artist, says she has aimed ‘to create a work that is not about forgiveness, but about deceit, betrayal, anger and heartbreak. The Willis ancestors literally call Giselle to join them. They are not a group of sweet, sad girls, but rather something more terrifying… They have been had. They are heartbroken. And they want revenge. Giselle does not forgive.’

‘…Noise’ is a response to the historically dense present: a socio-political moment that is laden with the compacting of intercepting, unresolved and recurring patterns of oppression

Vincent Mantsoe’s solo work KonKoriti has been described by dance critic Adrienne Sichel as ‘cathartic’, ‘deeply poetic, uncannily intuitive’. Named after a song about pride and arrogance that his grandmother used to sing to him, KonKoriti explores physical power and selfishness. Mantsoe is strongly inspired by spirituality and deep cultural influences as he wrestles with the preservation of tradition in the contemporary. A former Standard Bank Young Artist, Mantsoe now lives in France. In a powerful collaboration created through a residency at Dance Space in Johannesburg, Unmute Dance Company (Cape Town) and Tumbuka Dance Company (Harare), have united to present Breaking Borders. Moved by the acts of xenophobia in South Africa, the artists have been working together with the intention of breaking the borders between their countries, to connect and look to the future together. The work starts with the question, ‘Who am I as an African person?’

For a short guide navigating through the programme, check out: National Arts Festival programme open for booking or visit one of our pages:

FILM  Disruption, Dissension, Decency, Disobedience & Defiance
THEATRE  Expect the unexpected
TARTUFFE  the story of…
MUSIC  Traditional, innovative & experimental
DANCE  ‘Curious, furious and poetic’
VISUAL/PERFORMANCE ART  Combining the historic and the contemporary
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