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Wednesday, July 4, 2018


(Zinhle Nzama & Jabu Siphika. Pic by Jan Potgieter)

Flatfoot Dance Company impresses yet again with its thought-provoking dance works. (Review by Caroline Smart)

Thanks to the support of The Playhouse Company and eThekwini Municipality (Arts and Living Cultures Department), Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company was able to present their production, Down to the Marrow, at the National Arts Festival 2018.

Directed by Lliane Loots, Down to the Marrow is made up of two inter-linking dance works and is described as “a hard-hitting beautiful dance theatre journey into the interior landscape of identity. It looks at the echoes of ancestral Zulu traditions and how contemporary urban black lives negotiate a sense of self.”

The two pieces merge comfortably into each other – the first being a female space where two women find community in a journey that sheds layers.

Ukubona Ngokwami (in my perspective) is choreographed and performed by Jabu Siphika and Zinhle Nzama.

The programme notes state: “Two powerful women embrace each other and their own lives as they move towards a sense of understanding the world within themselves. In a way in which women mirror each other’s lives – in trials and tribulations – this dance work reflects that at times we follow and at times we lead ... but as black South African women, the journey is all about learning to listen.”

The second work represents a male space where young men learn to hold and support one another in defiance of patriarchy.

Ndlelanhle is choreographed by Sifiso Khumalo and performed by Sbonga Ndlovu, Ndumiso Dube, Siseko Duba, Qhawe Ndimande and Mthoko Mkhwanazi.

The programme notes state: Ndlelanhle (meaning “go well on your journey”) confronts Khumalo’s very personal journey growing up in Zulu culture and his memories around when you leave home for a certain journey the elders would give you a special prayer or blessing. Khumalo says: “I worry that these small things have been forgotten. These words and blessing matter so much; they are a reminder that we, as black urban Zulu men and women, still have ancestors guiding us. In Ndlelanhle I wanted to go back to these small blessings spoken to us as young adults leaving home and to look at how these words might affect who we eventually become, especially, in this work, as black men in contemporary society.”

Flatfoot Dance Company impresses yet again with its thought-provoking dance works and a company that is well-disciplined and interacts successfully. This production particularly highlights the sensitive and eloquent nature of Jabu Siphika.

The effective lighting design was by Wesley Maherry and the production was performed at the Centenary Hall. – Caroline Smart