By: Caitlin Goulding
The 15th JOMBA! festival will come to an end with the promise of something special: Chicago based dance company Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company will perform The Dance We Dance.
As part of the Jomba! Dance theatre Writing Residency I had the privilege of sitting in on a part of their rehearsal and watch a preview of their work. From what I saw it promises to be fantastic performance.
Deeply Rooted and Flatfoot chose to work together because of their similar missions and philosophies of using dance for social change. As associate artistic director Gary Abbott explained, it’s not just dance that’s important to them, but also humanity.
We arrived at the rehearsal just as they had finished a full run-through of the work, and the energy in the room was friendly and cheerful. When Deeply Rooted artistic director and choreographer Kevin Iega Jeff gathers the dancers to give notes, Flatfoot and Deeply Rooted dancers alike became focused immediately, ready to work. Throughout the rehearsal the dancers gave every move their all, showing their professionalism and dedication. They took each note and worked on it immediately, constantly asking questions, aiming to improve. They never complained about having to repeat something and used any free moment to run through the dances.
The rehearsal we witnessed was both intensely emotional and beautifully athletic. The dancers moved in unison ; their movements and angles were exact. What was beautiful to observe was the absence of division between the dancers of these two companies. They all looked like they have worked together as a group for a long time. The fact that they have put this work together in two weeks seems almost impossible, a testament to their incredible work ethic. Where there were timing issues that the dancers struggled with, Jeff would tell them to trust the music and, more importantly, each other.
Abbott explained how working together has fused the different technical styles of the two companies, creating a completely new dance. He said they would love to return and to work on something choreographed by Flatfoot, as The Dance We Dance features choreography by Deeply Rooted choreographers Jeff, Abbott, Anthony Marshall and Krystal Hall-Glass.
We can only hope that future collaborations do occur as, based on the rehearsal, The Dance We Dance promises to be a special evening of dance that I certainly look forward to watching.