Kenji is King
Reunion Island’s Cedric Saidou, known as ‘Kenji’ is in South Africa and has got every dance lover thanking the Lords for ‘Haine Terre Rieur’, and if they’re not, well they should be.
The work which depicts the loneliness and alienation he felt when living in Europe and the journey it took him on was brought to life by the incredibly talented, technically sound and simply amazing dancers Shany Arzeux and Didier Boutianaa. Their strength is shown in the most intricate and complex of lifts that even the little child in the audience whose screams were first annoying, became inspiring as she, through her innocence, was able to vocalise the awe that we were too sophisticated to show.
The lights that were strapped to their hands were the only thing we saw as they broke through the darkness and made the movement that much more intriguing allowing us to truly appreciate the excellent timing and synchronisation they portrayed - even in the dark. As Arzeux and Didier performed the sequence in canon, or with one of them standing and the other kneeling, it reminded us that while we may be going through our versions of heartache and loneliness, the crux of the suffering is the same.
The projected lighting that seemed like a grid of some sort lit up a sequence which they performed within this restricted area and paid homage to the prison-like feeling that being ‘different’ or ‘separate’ has on us. As a South African audience we could most definitely relate as oppressed and oppressor. We have all felt excluded, or alienated, from a group and with our recent outbreak of xenophobia, as a nation we have excluded so many others.
One of the dancers completes a sequence with a light in a plastic bowl representing a candle. He gets very close to it which gives us the sense of ‘playing with fire’ or being ‘dangerously close’ to something. This could point to the subject matter as a whole as it is a piece that has been touring for the past two years and may not be very well received in countries that are not as liberal as ours.
Another aesthetic treat was sent our way when another dancer performs under a UV light with glowing white pants thus allowing us to this time truly appreciate the movement of the lower limbs as opposed to the torso which we focused on earlier.
A piece performed under the projection of the moon, accompanied by a somber sound track, revealed the intensity of the feeling of isolation and was followed by a more joyous one which made reference to the biblical psalm ‘Sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning’.
I initially thought that this review was going to be all of two words (because this was all I could say at the commencement of the show) Beyond Amazing! Kenji’s use of aesthetic creative elements with his hand-held lights, candles, UV lights, sound tracks and spoken text in their native language of Creole and fusion of Hip Hop and contemporary dance makes even the standing ovation they received at its end seem unworthy.
Kenji premieres his latest work “A Contre Sud”, collaboration with Norton Antivilo, at JOMBA! 2010 on a double-bill on Saturday September 11 at 7.30pm.