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Besoek die aktiewe LitNet-platform by www.litnet.co.za

This is the LitNet archive (2006–2012)
Visit the active LitNet platform at www.litnet.co.za

Vermaak | Entertainment > Teater | Theatre > Artikels | Features


Anton Krueger - 2007-07-11

One of the challenges of working in contemporary dance is finding new forms for the body while still managing to communicate with an audience.

The first of three pieces by the Tshwane Dance Theatre, Sweet Honey Nights, manages this conversation flawlessly. Three dancers (embodying different aspects of the same woman) enact the harmonies and conflicts of a sexual relationship. A number of remixed Billy Holiday songs guide them in the expressions of a woman’s desire for a man. Animals – spiders, scorpions – emerge as she weaves around him, but her passion remains unrequited, and with her having been driven to despair, her animus surfaces and overwhelms him. It’s a provocative work, saucy, seductive, elegant. I couldn’t keep my eyes off Bernadene Jonathan.

The second work, Landscape of Pain, moves the conversation to more spiritual terrain, with earthy scenes contrasting inner and outer energies. Here there was an unsettling conflict between an individual frenzy and slower group harmonies. This structure was then inverted to create calm interior moments within the crowd. This is a troubling piece that leaves one feeling caught between diverging fields, between the conflicting ley lines of social currents made visible here.

The third work, Sporo, is light, frivolous fun, mixing popular elements of township jive, swing, and Pantsula with sheer exuberance. It was fine for what it was, although the programming caught me slightly off guard, and it sat a little awkwardly next to the two more serious pieces. I might have preferred building and extending the range of the tone which had been developing up to that point, instead of letting it bubble away in a frothy free-for-all. Having this cheeky dance rounding off the two previous reflections on sex and spirit made it feel like too much of a mixed bag.

Nevertheless, this might also be simply a matter of taste, and perhaps I was feeling in a more serious mood tonight. The audience certainly seemed to love all the pieces equally. “This is where we used to dance,” I overheard one old biddy tell another as they walked in; and when they left they were smiling, having no doubt been reminded of the vibrant days when the flesh was young and the body beautiful.

Cue contributing editor