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Thursday, May 21, 2015


(Manesh Maharaj, Vishen Kemraj & Madala Kunene appear in "Bhakti".
Pic by Val Adamson)

Flatfoot Dance Company in collaboration with Playhouse Dance Residency, will present a unique award-winning spoken word, music and dance work titled Bhakti at the end of May. This dance work is part of the Playhouse New Stages May 2015 offerings and will take place from May 28 to 31.

The production was first created by Artistic Director of Flatfoot, choreographer Lliane Loots, in 2010 and, in 2011, went onto travel to the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown in 2011, where it won one of the coveted Ovation Awards.

“This is a dance work that has mulled and been growing in my head for a long time. I am delighted to be re-visiting it again with the support of the Playhouse”, says Loots. Bhakti - also the Sanskrit word for devotion -is a 70 minute dance theatre work that offers a unique journey into the meeting of Eastern mystical philosophy and African contemporary dance rhythms. Loots adds: “My own physical and spiritual journeys 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.”

Joining Loots in Bhakti are four of Durban’s most celebrated classical Indian dancers, amongst these is a gifted veteran Kathak dancer Manesh Maharaj whose deep commitment to this ancient classical dance form has garnered a huge following of his work in both South Africa and India alike. “To be part of something unique and original and what a joy for me to be working with so many gifted dancers of all styles and rhythms,” says Maharaj.

Spoken word poet, and Durban’s politically astute and word-efying darling, Iain ewok Robinson, re-joins the cast and once again blends his street-style word rhymes with the ancient wisdom of Rumi’s poetry.

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.

Adding the soundscape to this theatrical dance 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 Loots on her various choreographic works. 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, too, offer up theatrical devotions for the audience.

“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”, says Loots.

Bhakti runs in the Playhouse Drama from May 28 to 31. Tickets R85 (R20 for special schools matinee). There are 10% and 20% discounts for blocks of more than 10 and 50 people respectively. Bookings through Computicket or at the box office on the night (pending availability of tickets).  For more information contact Lliane Loots on or call 031 260 1142.