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Thursday, March 19, 2020


(Leyah Govender, Canaan Tatsumi & Amara Nathoo. Photo: Jason & Joanna Tang)

Rampage Dance Company is celebrating 10 years of innovative dance in Durban.

To mark this milestone, Rampage director Iqraam Rahim mounted a new edition of his flagship series, The Eastern Evening (TEE), in collaboration with Umhlanga’s Gail Smith School of Dance. The
new TEE programme was presented on March 14, 2020, at Atholton Primary Dance Hall.

Ever since his initial ground-breaking TEE production at The Playhouse Company, dancer-choreographer Rahim has spearheaded an evolving programme of collaboration with fellow creatives. This has seen the growth of an engaging environment in which young dancers are encouraged to explore the full significance of their art form in today’s society.

Says Rahim: “The benefits of dance extend way beyond the entertainment world. Just as the practice and benefits of dance manifest positively in the corporate and family spheres, so has our TEE programme graduated from a schools dance competition, to a fully-fledged annual collaborative recital. Highlighting the strengths of our local dance industry, TEE now stands as a backers audition, and aims to be the largest supplier of dance locally.”

“Over the years, working with many private and public schools, we have learned that the arts act as positive reinforcement for the academic curriculum. Rising costs and a critical scarcity of orthodox venues have seen professional dance moving away from traditional theatres. International trends show a movement into more accessible spaces for the arts community, giving rise to site-specific work. Our research this year found Atholton Primary School ranking top of the list, with one of the most robust Arts departments in Durban. This makes for a perfect backdrop for TEE10.”

Rahim stresses the importance of revisiting dance curricula, to weed out obsolete methodology and embrace emerging trends, thus making dance more sustainable for youngsters pursuing careers in the performing arts sector. Rahim is justly proud of Rampage’s solid reputation for promoting dance that utilizes what he calls “the natural range of motion of the human body. This encourages both physical and mental stability. Significantly, in a decade of dance, we have had zero injury.

“Being a choreographer, it is difficult stepping back into the shoes of a performer. The mental and physical processes required are so different,” he adds.

In preparation for the event, Rahim trained four times weekly, with Anthony Clark at STRENGTH. This gave him a chance to acquaint himself with the mental disposition of his students, enabling hims to restructure lesson plans to maximize absorption rates.

Such pragmatism, passion and personal humility, as evidenced in Rahim’s skills-sharing, bodes well for the mindset of tomorrow’s dance practitioners. As a leading brand for dance in Durban, TEE is seen to have nurtured a well-rounded dance ecosystem that will last for decades. This public esteem was endorsed by the participation of this year’s line-up of guest luminaries. These included Dr Kajal Maharaj, award-winning parenting blogger; Priar Moodley, respected research and development consultant; Ruan Scheepers, KykNet presenter and television personality; and esteemed choreographers, Vusi Makanya of Kwa Mashu Dance Theatre; and Shiksha Singh of Kumari Shiksha Dance Institute.

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