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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


(Pic by Val Adamson: Ntombi Gasa, Pravika Nandkishore and Nomusa Ngubane)

Freshly returned from a highly successful Netherlands tour, the multi-award winning Flatfoot Dance Company is to present a uniquely created work. Artistic Director of Flatfoot, choreographer Lliane Loots, has joined forces with her Flatfoot company and some of Durban’s finest classically trained Indian dancers to collaborate on a seamless intercultural fusion of dance, spoken word, film and music.

Bhakti, also the Sanskrit word for devotion, is an hour-long dance theatre work that offers a unique journey into the meeting of Eastern mystical philosophy and African contemporary dance rhythms. Spoken word poet Iain ewok Robinson, blends his street-style word rhymes with the ancient wisdom of Rumi’s poetry, and the dancers begin the ancient whirling of the Sufi dervishes as they embark on the process of unlocking ‘the door’ - and so begins Bhakti.

Karen Logan’s inimitable film style offers close up images of hand mudras, of ancient texts coming to life on the stage; all of this blending in Loots’ layered choreographic award-winning style that offers audiences a ‘total theatre’ experience.

“This is a dance work that has been mulling in my head for a long time,” says Lliane Loots. “My own physical and spiritual journeys to the East, and my deeply embedded love of my home – Africa – all come together in this work which is really a long dance prayer or devotion offered to gods, goddesses and ancestors alike. I am delighted to have finally been able to gather together a group of dancers, musicians and artists who are able to journey with me in what is ultimately a collaborative creative process. More than anything else, this is a work about joy, light and the simple and yet deeply complex devotion of dance and theatre making. I would like audiences to come away from Bhakti feeling like they have emerged from being in the company of something really beautiful and sacred – and to feel transformed by it”.

Joining Flatfoot Dance Company in Bhakti are four of Durban’s most celebrated classical Indian dancers. Pravika Nandkishore, Evashnee Pillay, Kymmona Maharajh and Kajal Bagwandeen all have celebrated individual careers in dance, theatre and film. They come to Bhakti to share with Loots in this dance theatre vision and to be pushed into new directions as dancers. Also guesting with Flatfoot is Siwela Sonke’s Ntombi Gasa. An award-winning choreographer and dancer in her own right, Gasa renews a long-term working relationship with Loots. Being a skilled classical Indian dancer herself, she adds her expert presence to the creation of this groundbreaking work.

Adding the soundscape to this theatrical milestone is veteran musician Madala Kunene whose maskanda guitar echoes haunting rhythms for the dancers. Also joining him is master djembe drummer Mandla Matsha who has often collaborated with Flatfoot Dance Company. Completing the trio of musicians is tabla player Vishen Kemraj whose extraordinary drumming skills are known internationally. In a sound perfect fusion, these three musicians weave an original score for the dancers as they offer up theatrical devotions for the audience.

Bhakti has been made possible primarily by KZN DanceLink whose generous support of the creation of this work forms part of the organisation’s professional development platform for dance in Durban and KZN. Entrusting Loots with the creative process, KZN DanceLink has welcomed the exposure of dancers from all styles and training backgrounds being guided and nurtured into a creative process that grows and develops contemporary dance expression in KZN and South Africa.

Bhakti runs in the Playhouse Drama Theatre from November 4 to 6 at 19h30 and on November 7 at 15h00. Tickets R65 (R45 student/scholar/pensioner with group bookings of more than 10 tickets at R55 pp). Booking through Computicket or at the door (pending availability of tickets).

KZN DanceLink and Flatfoot Dance Company acknowledge the support of the National Arts Council of South Africa, HIVOS, and the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund.