Interplay: Unsettling but enjoyable

Mthuthuzeli November leads the show in socks that matched his skin tone Picture: supplied
Mthuthuzeli November leads the show in socks that matched his skin tone Picture: supplied

Interplay

Director: Debbie Turner

Choreographers: Mamela Nyamza, Adele Blank, Mthuthuzeli November, Kirsten Isenberg

Featured Artists: Mthuthuzeli November, Carmen Lotz, Marlin Zoutman, Thamsanqa Njoko, Danielle Wagner, Mia Labuschagne

Company: Cape Dance Company

3 out of 5 stars

The Great Hall at Rhodes University is filled with students, young and hungry for art. Murmurs on the street are that The Cape Dance Company’s Interplay is a must-see. It’s always interesting to see what kind of people arrive to take in a show, and almost says something beforehand about what you’re about to see. This time, the predominantly white audience is greeted by a smokey stage engulfed in dramatic purple light.

The routines are split into various acts, perhaps too many, of which not all were amazing. The first three were enjoyable, and involved two principal dancers frolicking while the other performers watched – almost like witnesses to a ritual. The choreography cleverly included the performers breathing in unison, which had a captivating effect and aided in everyone’s synchronicity.

The second was a photoshoot inspired theme with each of the dancers – male and female – wearing one high heeled shoe and performing the whole sequence like this. The two women principal dancers in this were mesmerising, as well as a pair’s appearance in a short homage to township swing, which added some much needed groove to the evening. A smart move by the choreographers, anchored by artistic director Debbie Turner.

Contemporary dance can perhaps be called out for not advancing as much as it should have. For a genre that seems to be aimed at breaking the shackles of rigid structure, it has slowly started to take on a set framework of its own.

Dancers also seem to be really into wearing socks during routines. Weirdly enough the opening routine had the dancers of The Cape Dance Company wearing socks that almost perfectly matched each individual’s skin tone. I’m sure this was done on purpose although a word of warning to the socked dancers of this generation – slipping is real and noticeable as it was in one instance when a dancer almost had a nasty tumble during quite a moving part of the show.

It had an odd feel about it that made for great viewing, something unsettling but enjoyable.

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