14 September 2010

Dramatic Finish

Dramatic Finish

Sli Hlengwa

The grand finale of JOMBA! 2010 called for something extraordinary.

That duty fell on the capable shoulders of young Reunion Island choreographer Norton Saidou (Kenji)

With Norton Antivilo in collaboration with three South African dancers in A Contra Sud.

Also in the mix the gifted Dutch-based choreographer Daniel Renner (Holland) in collaboration with Rodney Kasandikromo, Durban’s FlatFoot Dance Company and two B-Boyz created Soulscape during a three week residency.

Break dance has come a long way in terms of finally getting its proper due here in South Africa. Both pieces fused this street form into the choreography to bring Durban audiences a dramatic finish to JOMBA! 2010.

A Contra Sud is a quirky mix of pantsula, gumboot, and break dance, contemporary and, to my great delight, even a splish splash of capoeira, producing a melting pot of visual artistry. A moment that stayed with me is the solo performed by Gabriel Masango (from KwaMashu’s Dusi Dance Company) in which he is chastised and shunned by his brother for turning away from his roots after which he begins to dance. The other dancers hold white frames while he struggles with the image of himself. Crying out in the end in Zulu as they neck laced him with these frames, he shouts out in anguish how everybody makes mistakes and he begs for forgiveness. Having known Gabriel for some time, and knowing of his Brazilian and South African roots this solo spoke of other layers of personal identity which was a recurring theme in this year’s festival.

Renner’s Soulscape is an audio-visual masterpiece of street finesse. Different types of energy charged the whole auditorium. It was not simply a case of a B-Boy does a move then a FlatFooter leaps across stage. No, no! There was no separation of which dancer comes from which background, each could hold their own and did. It was a true testament to the technique that Renner has created called “roundcorner”.

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Jomba! Contemporary Dance Experience