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Monday, November 3, 2008


Interesting and enjoyable dance programme from DUT. (Review by Brian Roodt)

Light of Hope is a contemporary dance programme recently seen in the delightfully quirky Courtyard Theatre at the Durban University of Technology. This is an interesting and enjoyable collection of work by 2nd and 3rd year drama students. Overall direction is by Mdu Mtshali with choreography by Musa Hlatshwayo, Sanele Mziyane and Neliswa Rushualang.

Arriving ten minutes late for the opening performance at 19h00 on Wednesday night, I found myself locked out and returned to see the show last night, finding myself part of a largely student audience as a result. I think that was a good thing as I was immediately immersed in the group psyche of the appreciative but critical crowd…and crowded it was.

I won’t attempt to single out any one performance as this is essentially ensemble work. Suffice to say that, despite being very tired, I thoroughly enjoyed the programme and it seems the other members of last night’s audience did, too.

The Black Box is an interpretation of Durban street life which, like the programme notes, I found just a little pretentious and a tad too long but enjoyable overall. Choreography by Sanele Mzinyane to great music – Yeh, Yeh! by Lira.

The following piece, also by the 2nd years, was one of the most popular of the evening – Songs with choreography Mdu Mtshali - explores the premise that, with reference to a higher power, there is no situation that cannot be resolved if one has due regard for one-self and one’s values. An interesting integration of traditional and contemporary dance. The integral flour-fest makes the subsequent 20-minute interval obligatory while much cleaning up is done.

Then follow the 3rd-year contributions. Musa Hlatswayo offers Tribe of Legends which explores the re-emergence of a metaphorical tribe and is based on Hlatshwayo’s personal experiences. In a sense it’s a rite of passage for the students.

Rushualang’s contribution is Kanti Sizalwa Ngobani Na? Who gave birth to us? with guest performances by Sibusiso Gasa and Mxolisi Nkomonde of the Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre.

All-in-all an enjoyable celebration of life through dance especially if, like me, you subscribe to the ‘If you’re moving, you’re dancing’ school of thought. I enjoyed it. It’s worth seeing.

I must express my concern about the locked doors/exits which were again in evidence last night. I’m not sure if it’s a security issue (it didn’t stop people from walking in and out during the performances) but it’s a potential recipe for disaster! Even the ‘break-bar’ emergency exits were chained and padlocked. I was not at all comfortable about not being able to make a hasty exit if the need arose. Theatre and DUT management take note!!! I’m pretty sure Emergency Services would not look kindly on this practice of chaining and locking emergency and other exits. – Brian Roodt