Thursday, December 16, 2010

Favourite Things: Dada Masilo

Outside Kenya or rather in the more developed world dance is seen as an art form as complex and intricate as opera, classical music and even drama. South Africa is no exception. During this years National Arts Festival I was glad (giddy is more apt) to see that Dada Masilo, South Africa's most daring and controversial choreographer was bringing her latest work to the festival - Peter Iiyich Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. I had previously seen her sultry interpretation of Carmen the previous year and was exited to see what she would bring this year and boy did she bring it!

Of note was the fact that all the dancer, even the males wore tutus. One of the principal female roles was played by a man (in a tutu), a humorous crash coure in ballet (that shall haunt me forever) and the unabashed Africa aesthetic that is now iconic to her work. One scene was even titled Lobola which is widely translated in Southern Africa as bride price. Masilo's work is undoubtedly cheeky even coquettish but as Swan Lake came to its catastrophic climax (in a scene titled Swanicide) the whole dance took on a grave and ethereal feel that transcended space and feeling. No doubt many people came out with strong opinions of the piece like all good art should.

Despite the strong homosexual undertones (I liked it even more because of it) I liked Masilo's addictive perfectionism and the fluidity of the movements. The R30 I payed for a students ticket almost seemed criminal - I would gladly have payed more...


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