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Tuesday, July 5, 2016


(Reviews from the artSMart team currently in Grahamstown at the 2016 National Arts Festival)

A joyous celebration of dance. (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy)

Queues lead all the way to the road as The Transnet Great Hall in Grahamstown, usually recognised as an exam venue, was privileged to play host to the Cape Dance Company and three dance works: A Thousand Shepherds (2014) choreographed by Jose Agudo, a short solo by Mthuthuzeli November and Enemy Behind the Gates (2001) choreographed by Christopher Huggins. To say that they are skilled dancers, would be an understatement as they showcase their refined technique in these three works at this year’s festival.

A Thousand Shepards reveals Agudas' Spanish, flamenco background which is then fused with what resembles that of an Indian folk dance with flowing costumes that twirl like traditional Indian punjabis. The dancers move their pulsating bodies in perfect unison and cohesion as they seem transcended into one moving body.This intensely beautiful piece is well-lit to show the silhouettes of the dancers as well as the sharp tone of the piece.

The second piece, a solo by November, showcases the refinement, technique and precision of the ballet dancer’s body. He delightfully and tenderly shows off his skill, dancing in a pool of magenta light. He playfully draws us into his movement and a world of dance.

The last work, Enemy Behind the Gates, inspired by the enemies in our midst, has over 30 militant-looking dancers looking fierce in black with hints of blood red in costumes and lighting. Their agile bodies take to the stage with flare and commanding strength. These dancers delight the eye by pushing the body to soaring heights and distant lengths. In all, it was a joyous celebration of dance.
By Verne Rowin Munsamy

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