TV review – Pantsulas take to the dance floor

2014-07-29 11:00

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Stumbo Stomp ama Pantsula

SABC1

Tuesdays, 6pm

South Africans are known for their love for dancing?– we dance in good times and bad times.

With so many dance shows on our screens lately, including Strictly Come Dancing, Step Up or Step Out and Jika Majika, Stumbo Stomp amaPantsula caters for the pantsula culture?–?characterised by tsotsitaal, sporties, Dickies chinos, colourful patterned shirts and All Star Converse takkies?–?which defined a generation.

The action happens in a boxing ring as the host, Xhosa rapper iFani, pits individual dancers and groups in a knockout-style battle until a winner emerges.

With each episode, the victor walks away R25?000 richer and can double the winnings the next week as new dancers are introduced.

In the debut episode, five dancing groups comprising two individual dancers and three groups went head to head. The groups were all-out pantsula dancers and the individuals did freestyle dancing.

I love the show for what it stands for, the localisation of dance to suit our kwaito and dance culture. Who can argue against a truly South African dance ­experience?

But to my surprise, the first two contestants dancing in Skhanda, the 30-second “show us what you’ve got” segment, were hardly pantsula dancers. Even one of the judges, Buru Mohlabane, asked if these dancers knew what the show was about.

Granted, they are dancers, but the show says amaPantsula, and I would like to believe that contestants go through a screening test to determine if they qualify to be on the show.

I was relieved when they were eliminated in the first round and gave the three remaining groups of pantsulas a fighting chance on the dance floor.

Singer and dancer Chomee, alongside choreographer Mohlabane, are the decision makers when it comes to who gets voted out. While Chomee plays the easy-going judge, her colleague is a no-nonsense guy.

This is the format for most reality shows, but the two judges seem to be unable to convincingly articulate their arguments at times. They are at a loss for words half the time.

The remaining three dancers were much better as they stayed true to what the show was all about?–?good old-school pantsula moves.

In the last part of the show, the resident coach gives the surviving contestants a dance routine to reproduce in minutes with their interpretation. This is the ultimate test for those who want to win the champion belt.

A true pantsula will know how to do this?–?as demonstrated by the winning group, Sky Nation, which walked away with the R25?000 prize.

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