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Modern dance

first_imgSoul Inspireddir Bawren Tavaziva20 OctoberPegasus TheatreTavaziva Dance describes itsstyle as ‘African-influencedcontemporary dance’ infusedwith an awareness of, and familiaritywith, modern urban youth culture.Last week they came to thePegasus Theatre with Soul Inspired,a passionate and vivacious new programmecelebrating the diversity ofcultural experience and reflecting theintegrative ethos of the company.One of the company’s stated objectivesis to “inspire and providerole models for young people”, andthere is a tendency to think this allsounds slightly gimmicky, playingup to the current trend for stressingthe educational importance of artrather than its inherent artistic merit.However, in their performanceon Tuesday it was refreshing to seeeverything in the mission statementof the company borne out with sincerityonstage. The company avoidany sense of contrivance; their useof African, contemporary and urbandance seamlessly merges these differentelements to a point which attimes makes each indistinguishablefrom the others. Every movementthe performers make has purpose andresonance within one or indeed all ofthese social and artistic spheres.The fusion of urban and traditionalstyles reflects the background of thecompany’s lead choreographer, BawrenTavaziva. Tavaziva started out inHarare, gaining his first experiencewith City Youth Dance Group, ascheme aimed at benefitting localunderprivileged children. He thenjoined a professional company inZimbabwe, Tumbuka Dance, trainingin classical ballet and contemporaryGraham technique, as wellas traditional Zimbabwean styles.Tavaziva moved to the UK in 1998,working with numerous acclaimedcompanies before establishing hisown, Tavaziva Dance.The programme for Soul Inspiredopened with a piece called WorldsApart, a fusion of African and contemporarystyles of dance, with anadded element of cultural referencingto modern British urban life. Highlyabstract and synchronic movementdrivensections evolved into theseemingly improvised, depictinginteractions between friends andneighbours in a style leaning moretowards physical theatre than puredance. In the piece Link Duet, therewas again emphasis on character andnarrative as well as pure movement,as a couple comically portrayed theirconvoluted and passionate domesticdrama to the sounds of Tom Waits’Watch Her Disappear. Zviri Mumoyo(‘It Is in Your Heart’) was less successfullyrealised however; more‘lone dancer at a beach party’ thanthe ‘solo from the soul’ promisedby the programme. The energy ofdancer Lerato Lipere filled the otherwiseempty stage, subtly convertingthe repetitive rhythm of the musicinto something almost ritualisticand comforting. The second half ofthe night was composed of two contrastingpieces representing war onthe one hand (Tribe) and the deathof a loved one (Umdlalo Kasisi) onthe other. In both pieces, the interactionbetween the dancers was closerand more physical than before, butwhile Tribe evoked the threateningand aggressive contact of warfare, inUmdlalo Kasisi the dancers acted assupport and scaffold for each otherin their grief.If the show had a weakness it wasthat, for pieces which seemed to relyso heavily on narrative, the detailsof the stories being told were sometimeshard to discern. This left theaudience witnessing a strong and intenserepresentation of emotion, butwithout the clarity of the narrativeupon which it was obviously reliantthe feelings expressed felt a littlefoundationless. Nevertheless, SoulInspired was a vibrant, diverse andpowerful programme performed byan energetic and very talented company,pertinently exploring the senseof traditionalism within contemporaryBritish society and its fusion withindance.ARCHIVE: 3rd week MT 2005last_img read more