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Saturday, December 11, 2010


Taryn Makaab continues to forge ahead with energy and determination to achieve quality work. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The Break Thru Dance Company (BTDC) is the brainchild of its director, founder and principal dancer Taryn Makaab. Her first productions Under Construction I and II captured the interest of dance lovers across the spectrum and she has continued to forge ahead with the energy and determination shown by her successful initial venture into the ever-challenged performing arts scene in Durban.

Dollz is billed as Break Thru Dance Company's season finale spectacular – it’s certainly impressive from the choice of venue (SUNCoast Zone) as well as from the full colour 16-page programme on glossy paper.

Normally the word “fusion” unsettles me because, more often than not, such a production ends up like a variety show with no overall style or identity. However, in Dollz, Taryn Makaab has managed to “fuse” dance styles into an acceptable and logical whole which includes ballet, contemporary, jazz work, beat boxing, hip hop and break dancing.

There appear to be no less than 27 performers in Dollz but it’s difficult to see who’s doubling in what dance styles as many of the performers are dressed as “faceless bodies” in full hooded body stockings and wearing face masks.

These “faceless bodies” are important elements in the storyline which is about a young girl called Lara (Taryn Makaab) who has been outcast by society, although the reason for this is not made clear. Nevertheless, she is adrift in an uncaring world with only her determination and desires to fuel her.

As the programme notes state: “We now enter the world of the doll master, a place that exudes all the physical beauties Lara is so desperate to be part of. Like many before her, she is tugged, pulled and manipulated into a society that at first glance, appears to be perfect. Yet below the perfections of the dolls, likes a dark secret.”

Lara falls in love with the Soldier doll (effectively played by Casey Swales who is also assistant choreographer) who knows about the dark side to this world she has entered and strives to save her from it. Dollz aims to explore the many facets of our lives and imaginations.

It is important to support this company as it aims to introduce a new element to Durban’s dance world. The dancers are well-disciplined and performances are good. Special mention must be made of audience favourite, Evo of Beat in a Box, and Lloyd Jhodah van Straaten, the latter spending the full evening performing on stilts.

Good use is made of videography and the costumes are effectively designed. The lighting and sound at the Zone is excellent, as always. What would really round off the production as truly professional (and this is not something Break Thru can produce), would be some kind of electrical rigging where you don’t see the main tabs being pulled across by stage hands. Surely in these days of advanced technology there must be a way of creating a set-up like this which would be available for certain types of productions?

Dollz runs at Suncoast Casino until December 12 at 19h30 with matinees on December 11 and 12. Tickets R130 available from Computicket on 083 915 8000 or – Caroline Smart