A classical drama

2014-07-24 00:00

INDIAN classical dance is being used to tell the story of two young lovers in Durban in The Dance, a short-film written by Jayan Moodley and directed by Bonnie Sithebe.

Shot on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, the 27-minute movie stars local actors Rory Booth and Kajal Bagwandeen (Eastern Mosaic, Isidingo).

Booth, who has appeared in KickStArt Theatre Company’s Beauty and the Beast, Jack and the Beanstalk, the Bob and Rob children’s shows with Grant Jacobs, and in the film White Gold, plays kathak dancer, Deeno.

“He has grown up on a farm in Stanger and comes from a good home. Dancing is his life,” the actor and trained kathak dancer says of the character. “Kajal plays Vidya, his dance partner and girlfriend. She also loves to dance, but not as much as she loves Deeno. She is really only dancing to be close to him.”

When Deeno gets a scholarship to study dance in Durban, Vidya decides to follow him to the city, against her mother’s wishes. She is soon immersed in a world very different to the one she has grown up in.

“That’s when the trouble starts,” Booth says. “She turns to drugs, Tik to be exact, and we show how it takes just one hit to ruin your life forever. It’s a tragedy.”

The Dance, which was made as part of the National Film and Video Foundation’s women’s filmmaking initiative, makes use of kathak, one of the oldest forms of Indian dance to explore the consequences of Vidya and Deeno’s failure to communicate.

Kathak is characterised by intricate footwork and fast pirouettes and can be compared to a mix of Western tap dancing and classical ballet.

Booth said the four-day shoot was tougher than he expected it to be because he and Bagwandeen had to dance in sugar cane fields, while barefoot and wearing brass bells on their ankles.

“I didn’t know whether I was coming or going, it was that intense. But I also loved every minute of it. The film really showcases this wonderful artform,” he added.

• The Dance can be seen as part of the Durban International Film Festival (Diff) short-film package at the KZNSA Gallery in Bulwer Road, Glenwood at 8 pm tomorrow and at the Elangeni Hotel at 2 pm on Saturday.

Other films in the package include To Live, Vanity Fare, Baghdad Messi, The Flea, Peace in the Home and Boys of Soweto.

Tickets for the short-film programme at the KZNSA Gallery are R25.

• Diff programme booklets with the full screening schedule and synopses of all the films are available free at cinemas. Full festival details can also be found on www.durbanfilmfest.co.za

• arts@witness.co.za

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