By: Christiaan du Plessis
From moving to their own beat, to moving to the beat as one entity, last night the Elizabeth Sneddon stage was blessed to host two brilliantly talented dancers, Misato Inoue and Felix Dumeril, in Another Chopsticks Story at the 2013 JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience.
The audience’s emotions were completely and delicately controlled by the performers. Inoue and Dumeril were able to elicit fits of laughter and stupefied silence from the audience with their captivating movements. By simply sharing their journey in working together to create this piece, and the negotiation of each other’s identity and individuality, Inoue and Dumeril told a story which resonated with all who had the pleasure of watching it.
The use of video projection in the opening served to set up the identity and culture shock that was to come, as we watched Inoue and Dumeril come together in one space. The dance piece resembled a rehearsal process, with the two performers preparing having to learn to understand each other’s individual identities regarded as persisting entities. Visually, the performance was mesmerising; the whimsical choreography was well supported by the lighting, designed by Mirjiam Berger, props and projections.
The piece works through contrast, finding the perfect balance between light-hearted, humorous moments and more serious ones; Inoue and Dumeril took their own situation and made it relatable to any person in the world. I found it particularly relatable since our social context in South Africa is one rich in diverse cultural heritage and identity, which can sometimes creates boundaries which are not always comfortable or easy to negotiate.
As the dance progresses, Inoue and Dumeril become more accustomed to and accepting of each other and their differences, allowing them to find the balance between the two identities on stage. What this dance piece achieves in our multicultural context then, is that it shows us what can be achieved when we look past the differences in others, and find the similarities in one another.