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Saturday, April 27, 2019


(Pic by Val Adamson) 
A multifaceted performance not to be missed. (Review by Kamini Govender)

This past week, despite being shortened by a public holiday, felt extraneous. With the aftermath of the devastating floods greeting the days ahead; a stark reminder, amidst election campaigns, of the gross inequalities embedded in our society. It was within this week that Flatfoot Dance Company presented Under the Same Sky at The Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre.

For the past 16 years, Flatfoot has unapologetically challenged, provoked and engaged the ideas of what it means to be human in an inhumane system of society. And this piece was an echo of that same appeal. Delving deeply into the local and global political landscapes, it seeks to navigate personal reflections of our context through the body. As Artistic Director, Lliane Loots, aptly states of the work;  “[it] offers a deeply inhaled and exhaled breath at a time of extreme physical and emotional violence”.

Under the Same Sky not only reflects upon the terrifying rise in prejudice (fuelled by the global far-right gaining more power) But it begins to shatter the mirror it holds up, in the most beautiful way, exploring the possibilities and the hope that remains within us. The piece is comprised of three choreographed works, Ngaphesheya by Sifiso Khumalo, Loss of a dream by Jabu Siphika and unsheltered by Lliane Loots. Each of the works offering a unique perspective on the personal effects of memory, identity and nation.

The curtains rise to reveal a stark shaft of light and the Flatfoot dancers gathered ... waiting. Khumalo’s  Ngaphesheya begins in silence, with the company dressed in old clothes, walking forward. Slowly. Together. This movement is broken and repeated, with the sound of bare feet on the stage, running free and then re-joining the collective. This image is broken by the discordant music, as the dancers continue to interrogate our frenetic state of being. It questions where our dreams have gone, when the past seems to repeat itself and life continues the burgeoning of futility.

This is followed by Jabu Siphika’s Loss of a dream, a captivating and gentle statement to reclaiming the self. Exquisitely rendered through the dance work of Jabu Siphika and Mthoko Mkhwanazi. The composition is choreographed around a table and chair, which act as a symbol of both separation and selfhood. Siphika and Mkhwanazi alternate the space between connection and loss through this set piece. It ends with a tragic yet beautiful image; encompassing the difficult (but necessary) journey to selfhood.

The final work of choreography is unsheltered by Lliane Loots. It begins with the unfortunate visage of Donald Trump; spewing words of hate with ridiculous candour. An image that has been an almost daily occurrence - with the actual effects of his words on the marginalised - being less frequent in our news cycle. Lights are used to create a border on stage, as the dancers move in and around this distinct severance. unsheltered takes us on a journey of where we are, to where we could be, if we broke our borders and opened our lives to the spirit of generosity and empathy. If we could live as freely and as openly as the sky.

Under the Same Sky involves the dance work of the senior company; Sifiso Khumalo, Jabu Siphika and Zinhle Nzama and is joined by the junior company; Sbonga Ndlovu, Ndumiso Dube, Siseko Duba and Mthoko Mkhwanazi. Complemented by the lighting design of Wesley Maherry and video installation by Clare Craighead, it is a multifaceted performance not to be missed. The final show will be performed tomorrow (April 28) at 15h00 at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. - Kamini Govender