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Friday, May 23, 2014


(Jabu Siphika & Sifiso Majola. Pic by Val Adamson)

Flatfoot’s most senior and awarded dancers create interesting and inspiring programme. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Any production presented by the Flatfoot Dance Company is worth seeing but Isiphethu provides a challenging diversion from the norm.

This time, Flatfoot Dance Company’s Artistic Director, Lliane Loots, hands over the choreography reins to three of the company’s most senior and awarded dancers who have created an interesting and inspiring programme. Under Loots’s guiding and efficient eye, the production features works by Sifiso Majola, Jabu Siphika and Sifiso ‘Kitsona’ Khumalo under the overall title of Isiphethu which is an isiZulu word which means “The Well”.

“Isiphethu and this season of three new dance work dives into considering the power of the image and symbol of “The Well” to nurture and support the heart and spirit of the individual and the community,” Loots explains. “Timeously created with the ideas of a 20 year democracy resonating in us, Isiphethu is a personal journey into understanding the collective spirit of South Africa.”

The first piece is Sifiso Majola’s Gugulami/My Pride in which he explores the idea of looking at our own mirror image and seeing who we are and where we have come from. The work takes us through a number of moods from confusion or depression to determination or energy, each dancer retaining their separate identity while moving with the rest of the universe, as it were. I enjoyed the fluidity of movement which worked well with the moody lighting.

A solo piece follows: Jabu Siphika’s experience is a good teacher. Working with a table and a chair, she presented her thoughts on how constant self-examination can make us stronger. Seemingly using the table as her “well” – she was unable to draw away from it at first but finally became stronger in her own identity, her raised hand almost making legal affirmation in front of a universal judge.

The third piece, Sifiso Khumalo’s Ugubhu, was the surprise of the evening, that’s apart from the very dramatic opening drum beat! Ugubhu roughly translates to reference the deep sound that comes from the African drum – a sound that echoes far and wide with its resonance. Khumalo‘s work focuses on how we respond to the sounds of nature. However, this was not what took me by surprise. It was checking in the programme afterwards to find who had written the emotive text, to find it was Khumalo himself!

Appearing in each other’s pieces as well as their own, the choreographers perform with the other three members of the company: Julia Wilson, Zinhle Nzama and Tshediso Kabulu. When they were all working together in the final piece, one is reminded what a fine contemporary dance company this is. This is Flatfoot’s third year of partnership with Durban’s Stable Theatre and the venue lends itself to contemporary dance works. Long may the association continue!

Isiphethu has one more performance at Stable Theatre on Sunday (May 25) at 15h00. Tickets R50 (R25 students, scholars and pensioners). The duration of the show is 1 hour 10 minutes. Bookings on 082 875 6065 or e-mail – Caroline Smart