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 Post subject: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 4:06 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<img src="http://www.ballet-dance.com/images/images/clip_image001.jpg" alt="" />
<small>Vincent Mantsoe in "Phokwane"</small>

BITE:04

<big>Moving Africa</big>

Barbican Theatre, London

Tuesday 13 - Saturday 17 January 2004

Moving Africa is an evening of bold contemporary dance by leading artists
from South Africa, East Africa (Madagascar) and West Africa (Burkina Faso).
Each performance highlights the rich seam of exciting dance from this
continent whilst presenting the unique differences between these countries -
physically, stylistically and culturally. Moving Africa is guest curated by
Salia Sanou, Artistic Director of the annual Madagascan contemporary dance
festival and one half of Salia nï Seydou.

Vincent Mantsoe
South Africa
"Barena"

Soweto-born Vincent Mantsoe, one of South Africa's most prominent dancers
and choreographers, performs his award-winning solo show Barena. In Barena,
meaning 'chiefs', Mantsoe explores the awesome responsibilities of power.
Descending from a long line of sangomas (a high priestess) Mantsoe draws
upon his roots in Zulu ritual and spirituality to present an explosive yet
highly internalised expression of leadership.

Company Rary
Madagascar
"Mpirahalahy Mianala"

Mpirahalahy Mianala is a series of images which move from poetic abstraction
to concrete narration. Two men and two women, joined by an onstage
percussionist, delicately come together in continuously surprising
constellations and rhythms using only a wooden frame that transforms into a
gate, a table, a bed, a car.
Company Rary was founded in 1995 by dancer and choregrapher Ariry
Andriamoratsiresy who juxtaposes traditional Madagascan dance, where African
and Asian cultures meet, with contemporary influences. This is the first
time the company has performed in the UK.

Salia nï Seydou
Burkina Faso
"Figninto (The Torn Eye)"

Figninto, meaning 'he who does not see' is rich in West African ritual,
fluid movement and intense theatricality. Salia Sanou and Seydou Boro, the
prinicipal dancers who form the company, share an emotional chemistry and
physical complicity. They are joined by a third dancer and two onstage
musicians whose virtuosic drumming and African harps merge inextricably with
the movement.

Salia nï Seydou were last seen during BITE:01 in Century of Fools.



LISTINGS INFORMATION

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Tickets to all BITE events can now be booked 24 hours a day with Barbican's
secure online ticketing system: www.barbican.org.uk/bite

Moving Africa
Barbican Theatre
Tuesday 13 - Saturday 17 January at 7.45pm

Running time approximately 2 hours 15 minutes

Tickets: £12, £17

DISCOUNTS

BITE Multi-Buy save 20% when buying tickets for 3 or more performances in
the BITE season in the same transaction.
BarbicanCard discounts: first night £15, 20% off two tickets for all other
performances.

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Up to 3 under 16s come at half price with each full paying adult. Other
discounts do not apply.

Students are entitled to half price tickets for Wednesday evenings advance
booking. Proof of eligibility must be shown.

Students/Over 60's and holders of ES40s are entitled to £10 standby tickets
may be available 90 minutes prior to performance, subject to availability.
People with disabilities are entitled to a half price ticket for themselves
and a companion.

All discounts are subject to availability and cannot be combined to make
greater saving.

<small>[ 16 December 2003, 05:09 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 4:13 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
If time permits I'll put up links etc relating to the artists in this programme. For now, I will just say that knowing two of the three companies in this programme, this mix of African steps and experience with modern dance structures could be one of the leading dance events in London in 2004.

Strongly recommended!

<small>[ 16 December 2003, 05:17 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 4:57 pm 
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“… We spoke about the gestures… the force changes... same gesture in a couple of days may be different when I perform, I might be feeling differently. I kind of like, in some ways have created some kind of a language where people, somehow in many ways, they can relate themselves and try to understand the importance of what the gestures are and performing around the world, has showed me that you know it’s possible that we have a connection; and the kind of work that I do is close enough so people can understand it. People sometimes, they afraid; we don’t want to be open to appreciate; they don’t want to see the information that we don’t even know or the truth of it. So, really presenting my work around the world, being a soloist, you know, I’m not sure,.. yes I am successful thank you for that. I mean I truly believe that there isn’t any, and that is the fact that I know, that there isn’t many African, African man, black man or even a woman who travels around the world as a soloist, you know, presenting this kind of a work and been successfully going up and down and people really appreciating the work. So, really presenting my work around the world, being a soloist, gives me the chance to appreciate more of who I am and what I can offer. I was thinking about appreciation and kind of thinking in respect of our cultures’ you know, and I’ve tried to carry that kind of like, knowledge that, you know, once I believed in this language of respect, trust, the preservation of culture and then I can be able to pursue my career with very, very open minded spirited, passion.”

Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe is an international dance artist who trains in varied forms of dance performing in European theatre presentations. He draws from culturally specific dance aesthetics found in Europe, Asian and Africa. Movement experiences in these contexts are culturally specific, temporal and spacial events. For Mantsoe this confluence of cultural specificity, his particular encounter with alternative culturally specific dance aesthetics coupled with reflection of his childhood experiences in dance with his family in Soweto, encourages, indeed excites his choreographic inspirations. It is this overlap of worlds, the present day to day encounters impacting recollections and explorations with past and present dance making practices that makes Mantsoe’s aesthetic, an intertextual event. Mantsoe touches his past to intermingle with the present as he synthesises European and Asian dance forms and transliterates his embodied Africanist sensibilities to transform choreographic ideas into spiritual transcendence.

“I just enjoyed, I just love to move using the body’s language how one can actually transform him self; different techniques being done by one person it was fascinating and I wanted to explore that. I want to see how far can I go with different techniques being implanted into my body”

Mantsoe began his training with a scholarship provided by the Schweppes Corporation to attend Sylvia Glasser’s Moving Into Dance thirteen years ago. Previous to this Mantsoe danced in a youth club of 6 young men called the Joy Dancers. Inspired by the communal dance practices in his home township, videos of Fame and personalities like Michael Jackson the Joy Dancers devised their own dances and performed in competitions, entertainment in nightclubs and weddings in Durban and Cape Town South Africa. This experience though was secondary to his family life where his Mother, Aunt who is of the Ndebele tribe and cousins are trained Zulu sangoma who utilise dance as a vehicle for spiritual transcendance.

“For me, personally, my own experience about dancing began basically at an early age; observing the rituals because my family, is full of shamans and we practice rituals every weekend; these rituals include dancing… I did that from a very early age with my mother and she did it like every single day to awaken or greeting the Ancestors; she would wake up at 04:00 in the morning... the first thing that wakes me up together with my cousins is the drum. I would observe these rituals each and every day, the process of it; how trance took place in that moment which took for ever to get to and to get out of,... it was very scary… I still remember that point when my mother went into trance I was in tears I thought my mom, she was dying but it’s because of the transition of going from one point to another point, how they go into that type of state is very very important for them and terrible at the same time but then for me to observe them at an early age. Of course it was very scary; it was for me: What’s happening here! Is like people are dying for no reason and then they were in pain, why were they in pain? For me to observe them at the end of the journey they took, joy became the part of it; of course to observe the sacred world put one in a difficult position, but it is that wiliness or appreciation that the force of nature is inside us … I could actually see, I could actually feel when they come in and when they go out, but that was it; has been very very important to me to know.”

In Mantsoe’s family dancing with specific rhythms is the means to transcend the mundane to achieve a state of trance. Within the trance is the opportunity to enliven the spirit and secure diverse knowings, celebrate, or make connections for healing or direction. Mantsoe’s dance making is a process of synthesising these first specificities of dance with newly chosen sensibilities found within the infrastructure of his embodied knowledge. Mantsoe’s movement experiences of the African dance he learned in his home are complimented by his study of Graham, Limon, release and European ballet techniques, Tai Chi, jazz, Alexander, Labanotation, and the basics of Australian aboriginal, Balinese, Indian classic, and Cambodian forms. His multiple ways of knowing movement allow him to express one thing in several movement languages or take a simple gesture and twist its meaning to suit his choreographic purposes. Each choreographer has his own aesthetic, his own way particular way to make his art. His lived experience entails different ways of knowing movement that like a visual artist forms a palette of different colours, a palette of different movement senses, different ways of moving that he taps as source material to make his dances.

“…when I create the movement which specially may be coming from a traditional form, and having to transform or translate it into a language that can be readable to my body and for the Audience too. If they came naturally to me, I also have to understand why I have the gestures or movement. And I just dance it to fill the force of nature. It is with this knowledge that I am still in the process to understand or trying to learn more about… because some things are naturally unexplained ‘they just simply there’; there’s so many different gestures that I do that, you know, they might be coming back in a different work for different reasons, so that is the connection of life in dancing. I’m creating something today and the next day I’m create another work, the same movement will come back again.. it’s a process a journey where I try to find a language where I can speak to my own body in a better way so that you know the person who is watching can be part of it. This language I am creating don’t have the names for to put in the book to say gesture one mean this and so forth,.. the only names I’ve got for this kind of movement is body, spirit, mind, soul. And when you include all those four things together they come into what I call personal legend.”

Mantsoe’s “personal legend” illustrates many postures revealing his grace in the expression of several cultural attitudes. These varied attitudes point to the intricacies of his embodied knowledge. Family relations understand him through blood memory, by culture or affiliation. His friends, associates, and supporters surround him and encourage his singular significations but as he moves in an intertextual world, he is isolated by his particular profundity. Mantsoe’s legs walk many roads some of which he has never known first hand but aches from the travel none the less. Mantsoe’s “personal legend” forms the substance of his identity, his dance’s aesthetic. Only those who recognise the cradle of his movement knowledge acknowledge the inspiration, indeed the roots of his movement allegiances and the more you know the more you see.

The continent of Africa has hundreds of different voices, different dance significances, and different embodiments. Each community has a distinct, holistic approach to dance that shapes its significance and purpose within that community. Embodied knowledge within these varied dance practices is integral to lived experience. African dance, from the continent or its alternate places of origin throughout the African Diaspora, is an event where dancers, musicians and audience members partake in presentations that through the use of music, dance and storytelling combine ritual symbolism and religious practice in sacred as well as secular presentations. African Dance has its sources in spirituality where a traditional religious belief system acknowledges with specific rhythms, songs, gestures and body design, attire and accruement, God, deities, celebratory events, rites of passage, and ancestors to list only a few. The ritual and symbolism that accompanies these dances reveal an individual cultural identity with a coherent, holistic approach to life that substantiates validity and guarantees continuance of its form. Individual ways of making and knowing dance are drawn from this multiplicity of varied cultural affiliations that comprise Africanist expressions. Africanist expressions are by their very nature; a multiplicity, indicating there is no one-way to dance in Africa or the African Diaspora.

“The idea that I’m working on, well, I mean I truly believe in the process of preservation with the ability to moving with the times because if you are really a better artist, you want to progress meanwhile you are still having your knowledge of cultural movement in your body but still when one dances you want to fill the force of nature is taking place, then your own kind of vocabulary being kept because this is you. Then you want to bring in other elements and to have that you have to foresee what’s happening in front of you and that’s when you create, you collect all these different modern techniques, wherever they come, then you add them into the dance. And so that’s, you know, what you call preservation moving with the times, very important for me”

Mantsoe with his particular up brining and training has devised a dance aesthetic fraught with spirituality. He choreographs a journey of self-healing that offers, indeed invites audience members to travel spiritually also. Mantsoe’s experiential journey takes a luminal path making the performative act more than simple possession or sensual exhibitionism or the translation of embodied knowledge into dance art. Mantsoe’s aesthetic reveals the archaeology of his dancing body.

“When I have to dance this work, the first thing that happens, I have to be honestly, completely a new person. Stepping on stage is a different world than offstage. For me the stage is a very very sacred place, that’s how I feel it.. like when I am home, my mom playing a small drum in a special area where we speak to our Ancestors without dancing this time… that allows me to have the ability not only to dance alone on stage, it gives me the opportunity to see who’s around me, who’s dancing with me on stage and those people are my ancestors and kin. So when performing at festivals its very very important for me to have the ancestors around me, as I see the body being manipulated in different ways then I know that the force of nature is taking place and I can fill you and see if you are part of my journey or not. First as we spoke about the gesture, I can explore, I can do something else, I truly experience in different sources of life each and every time….the other part of the journey that takes place during the performances is that I separate my body into two and one part of the body it remains within the performance space and the other body it remains within the trance, the transformation or the trance part of it. It’s a very risky business but then you know, to make a thing the work to be, to be true to itself, I have to push myself to that point; not that I have to but then it just happens”

Mantsoe movement goes beyond the common ness or what is thought to be the traditional in African dance but admits a gravitational pull toward the philosophy of his traditional culture. Mantsoe seeks a communion with audience members so that they can join him on his plane where ancestral knowing leads to intercultural sharing and recognition. Mantsoe’s choreographic philosophy is open minded and revisionist. His approach to dance and dance making seeks to curtail those staid, shortsighted impressions that disable transcendence through spiritual connection when different cultures meet.

“Well I talk about, the audience being part of what I do; for me it is not only about the inspiration, not only to give the people inspiration, but it is also about education. They may not know something that is hidden… they didn’t even know existed in life. But even myself there’s a lot I didn’t even know about it, its out there, educating myself as well about different life forms and whatever I do on that day, on that stage its that crucial for what I do for generation to come. So it’s really about to give the audience what I feel”

This is Mantsoe’s way of cultivating the possibilities inherent in the meeting of varied experiences or varied life views. Just as Mantsoe’s chosen movement vocabulary is multi cultural his music choices defy clear cultural classification. For example the music for Barena, which means “The Chiefs”, “the majority of the music is South African but then of course traditional South African music also being composed in the contemporary feel”. Having an astute ear, his selection of music always intends to be “very spiritual in a way but it can be very very fast, or very complex rhythm but still have the very spiritual ness of it”. He designs his own costumes and usually hires someone to make them. Props are collected as and when for their suitable significance within a work. When he is given the resources a lighting designer is chosen to design lights. For each element within his work a connection must be established and a shared sense of reverence and speciality which Mantsoe’s art warrants. Barena will be performed at the Barbican during the Moving Africa series 13 – 17 January 2004. The content of Barena, like all of Mantsoe’s art, is “based on African tradition or culture and as you can see in my work all the titles of my pieces are based on traditional words”. The content of this work is expressed through an amalgamation of several traditional and contemporary dance vocabularies. This merger of cultural specificity may not be readily recognisable but Mantsoe believes people will meet his work on one of its many layers.

“it’s a very unusual language for them and it might be a little bit difficult for them to understand why exactly am I doing that gesture… you just have to try to feel the environment of it, actually what’s happening in the piece.. Some of the gestures that I do specifically you know, either pointing into the audience or pointing to somebody you know specifically, and with the eyes as well, how I look at the audience, it’s with a meaning behind it; so even if you know movement or gesture that I do, comes very very important for them… People, they tend to be trying to ask themselves like, ‘what was that?’ I truly believe and I feel that I’ve created some kind of an openness to my work with the audience and people really appreciating the work you know, in a very different level of life… I would say some of the, not only the critics but in the public, they may not understand exactly and know what this is about and it’s fine you know. I mentioned the spiritual ness of it, it’s not easy to understand my work at one go you know; you need, as a person, you need to look at my work at least twice; you need to look at like either once or twice or even thrice to understand the content of the work and what I’m trying to say because the work itself, it goes beyond just its content.”

<small>[ 06 January 2004, 04:31 PM: Message edited by: THEA NERISSA BARNES ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2004 3:02 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Having seen two of the three segments in this performance, I'm sure that no one will be disappointed by the dance quality on show.

If you haven't experienced African modern dance, then give yourself a treat - this could be the best value for money offer in 2004:

<big>Special Offer

£10 TICKETS FOR BEST SEATS OFFER!
</big>


Quote 'Moving Africa £10 Best Seat Offer' *
(Valid for performances on 13 14 and 15 January 2004, not available on-line, retrospectively or in conjunction with any other offer)

Bold contemporary dance from South Africa, Madagascar and Burkina Faso
Vincent Mantsoe, Company Rary & Salia nï Seydou

In this special event BITE brings together three very different African dance companies - showcasing the brightest dance talents to emerge from this culturally rich continent in recent years.

Barena (Chiefs)
Vincent Mantsoe's solo works mesmerise with his personal style of Afro-Fusion. Themes of cultural alienation and identity are explored with an intense physicality and charisma that has won audiences world wide, including state leaders such as Nelson Mandela.

Mpirahalahy Mianala (Several Form One)
With their roots firmly planted in tradition, but resolutely tapping into contemporary life, Company Rary create a statement of rare beauty and confidence.

Figninto (The Torn Eye)
Traces human life from the cradle to the grave in an intense and physical dance full of thrills and spills, moments of suspense and silence.

'Some of the more astounding physical feats slip by so discreetly that you doubt your own powers of recall...Riveting.' The Independent on Mpirahalahy Mianala

BOOK NOW!
Box Office 0845 120 7512 (Booking fee applies)
Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS, www.barbican.org.uk/bite

* Subject to availability

<small>[ 11 January 2004, 04:03 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2004 2:06 am 
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Moving Africa, Barbican
Slow steps from Africa
By Zoe Anderson for The Independent

Charismatic dancers can lift weak choreography: Salia Sanou and Seydou Boro stand shaking, shudders running right through their bodies from contracting torsos to fluttering hands. One struts forward with his shirt pulled over his head, suddenly foppish enough to make the audience laugh. It's dancing that would make the piece more memorable if it weren't for the dull stretches in between.

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 Post subject: Re: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2004 2:08 am 
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Don't be put off by Zoe Anderson's review. The people I spoke to, including dance professionals, enjoyed this programme a lot, as I did. It contains some of the finest dancing we're likely to see in London this year and I found much to admire in the choreography.

<small>[ 15 January 2004, 02:17 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2004 11:56 pm 
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Moving Africa
By Sanjoy Roy for The Guardian


Soweto-born Vincent Mantsoe treads with a regal stance, his walking stick morphing into staff, spear and stake. He then hovers intently before unleashing his contained power into whiplash spins and detailed flurries of steps.
Barena (Chiefs) is part of Moving Africa, a triple bill of contemporary dance from companies from south, east and west Africa. Mantsoe is gripping to watch, but Barena also has a potent, though understated narrative drive.

click for more

*************************************

Moving Africa
By Donald Hutera for The Times


DON’T expect happy energetic natives. The dancers in Moving Africa are unquestionably fervid about what they do, but their work is a far cry from touristic notions of African dance. Hailing from the south, east and west of the continent, the artists in this Barbican triple bill (until tomorrow) offer refreshing examples of the varied fusions of cultural tradition and contemporary impulses.

click for more

*************************************

Brother love and fascinating shoulder moves
Ismene Brown for The Daily Telelgraph reviews Dance Moving Africa at Bite, Barbican


One thinks of Africa as the great continent of singing and dancing, but very little African dance reaches Britain. Scant visits from folkloric companies, the rare and culturally dubious productions of the north London company called Adzido Pan-African Dance - which receives an incredible £1 million Arts Council grant for Britons of African roots to recreate their ancestral dances - are not much to be going along with, whatever your origin.

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 Post subject: Re: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2004 1:41 am 
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Moving Africa, Barbican, London
By Jenny Gilbert for The Independent

By contrast, Moving Africa, a short season at the Barbican, promised to show how contemporary imagery and ideas are infiltrating African dance. Too bad that all three of the works shown by choreographers from South Africa, Madagascar and Burkina Faso - south, east and west - bore traits of the worst kind of European contemporary dance: over-long and wilfully obscure.

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 Post subject: Re: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 2:33 am 
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Moving Africa
By David Dougill for The Sunday Times

The Barbican (for Bite:04) hosted Moving Africa, a conspectus of modern “fusion” dance from three parts of that continent, and very different from folkloric extravaganzas in grass skirts.

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 Post subject: Re: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2004 4:36 am 
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Moving Africa is testimony, at least by virtue of these artists, that Africanist dance expressions are definitely not homogenous and include Europeanist modern/post-modernist inclinations. Previous experiences or preconceived notions of what dance from Africa is thought to be disperse before these eloquent dance expressions that are not theatricalised presentations of culturally specific, scared or secular rituals or renditions of the lived experience of the noble savage or peregrinations of the elegant survivor of denigrating circumstances. Each of the Moving Africa works had an individual mode of vibrancy and imagery that did not just vivify a specific cultural identity. Each work was a distinct entity of dance making, derivative of intra and inter cultural experiences. One can note that these expressions originate within the African Diaspora but they also exhibit alternative dance making traits found outside expected Africanist aesthetics. On this occasion the proscenium arch was a mysterious, multi-world place where each work provided its own devised aesthetic for the spectator to experience.

For Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe who presented Barena (Chiefs), the performance space is a scared, spiritual landscape where his interaction between artistic intention and spiritual belief sculpt mood as well as movement. This choreographic choice indicates Mantsoe’s connection to his Africanist heritage. From here though Mantsoe’s composition transliterates Europeanist choreographic devices and transforms preconceived notions of African dance making. Even though the Barbican presented an obstacle for Mantsoe to reach his audience on a spiritual plane, Mantsoe succeeded in “touching” the audience with carefully chosen glances that revealed the mental and spiritual states of Barena (Chiefs) that Mantsoe portrayed. Walking straight across the back, Mantsoe wore a cloth that during the performance was a cloak or skirt. He carries a cane that is likened to a staff that has a symbolic importance for spiritual support for the man and indicates authority for his people. Downstage right is a small object representative of the throne upon which the chief grieves, contemplates, and administrates from. Mantsoe uses music by Madosini, Tribal Ethno, and Pops Mahomed but his choice of Eric Satie’s Gymnopedie 1 intended a contemplative tension. How are we to feel when Gymnopedie 1 is heard while Mantsoe rants in desperation? Mantsoe dramatic portrayal is of a chief who wars with self, ancestors and an assortment of imaginary peoples who assail him as much as they revere him. Mantsoe invites audience members to see these antagonists as instigators of turmoil or enablers of triumph; Mantsoe compositional choice is intended for audience members to experience juxtaposition, to “see” the dichotomy the chief is living. The portrayal of the “chiefs” is fictional; an imaginary excursion to display the frustrations of a person who has power but limited choices and demanding responsibilities. This is almost an everyman story designed to expose the protagonist’s mind and reveal an assortment of varied relationships to self and others either, real or imagined. This is not a ritual, initiation or rite of passage. This is an exploration into the landscape of a mind; a universal compositional choice to expose layers of consequence that have empathetic resonance for any man or woman caught in similar circumstances.

Company Rary was a decidedly different dance theatre experience. In this work, contemporary dance borrows from the traditional dance of Madagascar but is formalistic rather than expressionistic or representative of any culturally specific rite. For choreographer Andriamoratsiresy’s work Mpirahalahy Mianala (Several Form One), audience members become voyeurs, watching movement as sculpture or the dancer’s resultant exploration in manipulation of each other, props, rhythms and space. The dancers seemed siblings of the same family moving as one with their movement extraordinarily clean and unaffected. One can note a deliberate choice to have the dancers move as a well-rehearsed ensemble with little tolerance for individual interpretations. The movement was poignant and witty and contained many etched stillnesses that were complimented by controlled staccato phrases. With live music by Linda Angelica Volahasiniaina and the manipulation of a wooden frame the imagery evoked a bedroom, a bus, or a platform, games, and close relations. This work succeeded in emphasising many varied contemplations for the audience’s eye to feast.
Salia nï Seydou presented Figninto (The Torn Eye) with choreography by Seydou Boro assisted by Salia Sanou. This dance work was performance theatre. Contemplated thoughts on blindness and the consequences of time and mortality on human relationships were starting points for a work that invited audience members to sense through the imagery the union of friends and the despondence of separation. Throughout the work moods of dissatisfaction were followed by chicky mischievous play, moments of trust and camaraderie. At times the bodily narrative of the performers read somewhat feminine or demonstrated extraordinary bombastic prowess. The movement here was dynamic with tempered ferocity that maintained its Africanist “coolness” from beginning to end. This aesthetic is a merger of West African dance expressions and French contemporary dance theatre. With live percussion by Dramane Diabaté and Tao Irisso on musical bow and flutes this work created its own temporal space as an exploration on varied meetings and partings.

Certainly Vincent Mantsoe’s African scared/secular crossovers and Seydou Boro manipulation of Bata dance modes and performance theatre antics do not stand as representative of their respective community’s dance practices. Andriamoratsiresy’s work is more a study in movement abstraction than a reinforcement of intra community dance traditions. Each work is the product of the choreographer’s national and international intertextual reality. Each work exemplifies the articulation of unique art practices that say nothing about nationality but everything about the melting of borders physically and the transliteration of Africanist, Asian and Europeanist theatre dance aesthetics. These dance works use Europeanist contemporary dance practices as a default unifying structure. But beyond this first glance, the gaze apprehends, if it is suitably endowed, multiple world experiences where Africanist and Asian roots coupled with individual choreographic propensities make these works dance making phenomena in their own right.

<small>[ 03 February 2004, 01:36 AM: Message edited by: THEA NERISSA BARNES ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Moving Africa - Barbican, January 2003
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2004 5:13 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Many thanks indeed for this report Thea. For me this may well be one of the best dance evenings of 2004 and shows the amazing variety and vitality of modern dance around Africa.

I was surprised that the UK national critics didn't get more from it, but I have seen that experienced critics and administrators that I know and respect have difficulty crossing this particular cultural boundary. For me the dance quality and the individuality of the three movement vocabularies on display made a profound impact.

Mantsoe is one of the finest dance artists working today in my view and Seydou and Salia are two of the most technically adept performers to be seen anywhere. I was also pleased to see Company Rary for the first time - the mix of West African, Asian and other traditions blended to make an intriguing mix. The young musician accompanying the performance worked wonders with drums, acoustic effects and an instrument like a plucked dulcimer. As often happens with African companies, she also joined in the dancing at one stage.

I feel very happy thinking back to the evening.

<small>[ 02 February 2004, 06:16 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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