Soul 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 2005
It wasn’t too long ago that Wisconsin was a top destination for efficient game-manager snap-it-and-get-rid-of-it type quarterbacks.While the running backs carry a storied history at Wisconsin – including Heisman winners Ron Dayne and Alan Ameche – UW has never exactly been a top quarterback destination. The Badgers have never had a hard time landing top-notch bruisers in the backfield, but it’s always been a bit of a challenge to attract the best signal callers in the country to a program known for its power running game.If you could hand the ball off and keep the team out of trouble (i.e. limit interceptions), you were nearly guaranteed a spot as the Badgers’ starter.Case and point: Scott Tolzien. The fifth-year senior undoubtedly played a critical role in Wisconsin’s epic run to the 2011 Rose Bowl, but he was not exactly the guy you counted on to throw a bomb down the sideline to Nick Toon in a last-minute scoring drive. Completing almost 73 percent of his passes on the year, he was unbelievably consistent, much like many of the Badger signal callers before him.But all of that’s changing thanks to a guy by the name of Russell Wilson. Camp Randall was home to the likes of Tyler Donovan, Allan Evridge and the ever-efficient Tolzien, but now it’s home to one of the most exciting, explosive players in the country in Wilson.More than halfway to Tolzien’s total passing yards last year and just three touchdowns behind the Rose Bowl quarterback’s 2010 touchdown total through five games, Wilson is rebranding the quarterback position at Wisconsin. Despite a standout performance for Tolzien last year, Wilson is making Tolzien’s Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award look like the WAC Player of the Year Award. It’s true that this will be the one and only year suiting up in the cardinal and white for the fifth-year transfer from N.C. State, but the legacy he leaves behind will last much longer than a season. In an impressive stretch for the UW program that many see as one of the strongest in recent history – and one that could turn them into one of the premier programs in college football – Wilson’s timing couldn’t have been better.Coming off a year that marked their first appearance in the Granddaddy of Them All in a decade, Wilson could have the Badgers back in Pasadena (or, dare I say it … even better) for the second time in as many years. Already gaining plenty of national attention for his 216.9 efficiency rating and 13 touchdowns, Wisconsin fans aren’t the only ones noticing that he is the best quarterback to play for the Badgers in a long, long time.So what does this mean for the future? A new quarterback tradition in Madison, and by quarterback tradition, I don’t mean more of the guys who experts refer to as “game managers.”Unless by some magical stroke of luck the Badgers pick up another stellar transfer quarterback next year, it may appear that the offense is headed back to the days of running the ball on 29 straight plays (remember that, Michigan?), but UW has already lined up a stellar quarterback recruit who could win the starting job as a freshman. Four-star recruit and California native Bart Houston, listed as the No. 6 pro-style quarterback by Rivals, committed to Wisconsin in May.Turning down offers from several Pac-12 schools, Houston could be the next guy in line to continue the rebranding of what it means to be a Wisconsin quarterback. After narrowly missing out on dual-threat quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who picked his hometown Gators, last year, it’s clear that quarterbacks are quickly gaining glamor in Madison. While Bret Bielema can preach all day about how his team “isn’t sexy,” (it was mildly humorous the first time – get a new line, coach) Wilson is making the Badger quarterback position just that – sexy.The UW offense won’t be giving up on the run any time soon, but after producing several NFL-caliber receiving tight ends in the last couple years and armed with a group of talented receivers, the Badgers might not be regaining their “run it, then run some” mentality any time soon.After all, what quarterback wouldn’t want to play behind a mammoth, athletic offensive line that perennially ranks among the nation’s best? Recruiting at other positions may have its highs and lows, but Wisconsin will never have a shortage of massive Wisconsinites to line up in front of the signal caller.On top of that, choosing the Badgers means playing in a pro-style offense directed by the offensive mastermind that is Paul Chryst. As many quarterbacks come to college with ambitions of playing in the NFL, UW’s offensive system serves as the perfect runway to show that you can take a snap under center and lead an offense that actually works at the next level.If Wilson can continue putting up ridiculous numbers this year and remain in contention for the Heisman, it could be just the break the Badgers need to attract the top signal callers from around the country to Madison. In a couple years, Brissett may be wishing he took the long trek to Wisconsin as Houston lights up Camp Randall on a game-winning drive. At that point, we’ll look back and remember it all started with a one-and-done Heisman winner by the name of Russell Wilson.Welcome to the new era of Wisconsin football: the era of the quarterback. Ian is a junior majoring in journalism. Think Russell Wilson is the answer to every Badger fan’s hopes and dreams? Let him know at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @imccue.