By: Christiaan du Plessis
A site-specific performance gives a different view point to each of its viewers; this then generates what the audience gathers from the experience of the performance. Musa Hlatshwayo’s ABANGUNI took this challenge and made sure that every person present was a part of the journey, activating all five senses as we saw movement and dance, heard music and singing, touched sticks of sugar cane, smelt the smoke from a fire and tasted fresh fruit corn and beef. If by chance you missed the story Hlatshwayo put across, you could not miss the experience and the journey.
The end of one journey marked the beginning of another, as the ABANGUNI performers led the audience into a stark and comparatively empty space where Swiss dancer-choreographer Misato Inoune performed her work SWAN. Her presence hidden beneath layers of white paper, it looked as if the stage was beginning to move as she made her emergence. Inoune made effective use of the crisply white paper, making literal the poetry of her words: “white is the absence of colour, as purity has no memory.”
From Inoune’s performance the audience’s attention was drawn to a collection of award winning short one minute dance films projected onto the gallery wall. The films were curated by Jeannette Ginslov of ScreenDance Africa, a platform for screendance makers to showcase their unique takes on dance and film.
SUICIDE: at six year’s old, choreographed by Vusi Makanya and performed by his Dusi Dance Company, began with a woman in a red dress telling the story of an abused child while six dancers portrayed through dance what she went through physically. The piece explored explains her painful past but ended on a hopeful note with her final words being “your past does not determine your future.”