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Friday, March 24, 2017


Unique collaboration propels contemporary dance into uncharted territory. (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy)

Celebrating their 14th anniversary this year, Flatfoot Dance Company in association with The Playhouse Company present Sadhana, a trans-cultural collaboration and choreography that fuses video, Kathak, African contemporary dance and music.

To fully understand and embody this notion of trans-cultural one simply must watch Sadhana. Joining forces once again are choreographer Lliane Loots, Kathak dancer Manesh Maharaj, Madala Kunene on guitar, Mandla Matsha on djembe (flute and percussion), Revash Dookhi (tabla) and the Flatfoot dancers.

Using their previous collaboration, Bhakti, as a springboard, this unique collaboration propels contemporary dance into uncharted territory as we witness this journey towards enlightenment that honours intellectual, emotional and spiritual seeking. Wesley Maherry’s seductive lighting is well matched by the speed and grace of the dancers; while Karen Login beautifully landscapes the piece with her video installations.

The speed and grace of the Kathak form is evenly matched by the suspension and release of African contemporary dance as these finely-tuned dancers immerse their walks of life into one journey of enlightenment. Just as in real life, when we meet new people and travel to new places, we share ourselves and learn of others, so to does this performance. As we journey through life, we leave pieces of ourselves in places and people and in return take something away with us in our emotional and spiritual self. Within this post-apartheid era, we are also trying to rid ourselves of our colonial history, as is represented by the dispensing of clothes in the piece and the final image of the washing line with clothes hanging on it to dry.

The company as a whole seamlessly display their unison as their bodies comfortably glide, spin and lift with one another. Their bodies are sophisticatedly synchronised with each other and the music. The ‘shedding’ that is necessary for progress and to reach our enlightened selves is captured in this piece through the use of a classic form, like Kathak, with rigid structures and steeped in tradition which is then meshed with the free flowing and ever developing form of African contemporary dance.

Sometimes we have to peel away the layers, like an onion, to find the sweetness inside. We have to forget what we have embodied in order to find the pureness of the enlightened spirit. The piece reminds us that as South Africans we are not alone on our paths and that the rolling hills and dusty roads that come before us are not trodden upon alone.

Sadhana runs in The Playhouse Drama until March 26, be sure not to miss it. - Verne Rowin Munsamy