By: Princess Biyela
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, founded in 1995 by dancers Kevin Iega Jeff and Gary Abbott, is a Chicago-based that works within an African-American dance aesthetic of contemporary dance by bringing together modern, classical and African-American traditions. In contrast Flatfoot dance company, whose work is often based on memory and history has developed a unique identity as a contemporary South African dance company.
Even though each company is shaped by its specific history and environment, they also share a lot incommon. Both are rooted in the communities they work in, introducing dance as as weapon to break down barriers.
Watching members of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater working with dancers from Durban’s very own Flatfoot Dance Company at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Drama department as they rehearsed for their upcoming collaboration to be presented at the 15th JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience, one got to see the dancers unpack ideas and emotions through physical movement.
The work titled The Dance We Dance, features choreography by Jeff, Abbott, Anthony Marshall and Krystal Hall-Glass contains an undulation of powerful partnering and compelling entrances and exists. There were moments of unity, there was occasional flow and the the technical prowess of the partners was a pleasure to watch. I found myself welcoming the individual idiosyncrasies of each dancer and each partnership, producing the kind synergy only possible when team work is at its best.