2014 a big year for Standard Bank Young Artist Awards

The National Arts Festival last night named an unprecedented eight young South Africans winners of the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award, bringing to 125 the total number who have been honoured since Standard Bank began sponsoring the Awards three decades ago.     The Award is made annually to young South African artists who are either on the threshold of national acclaim, or ...

Diverse dance at the National Arts Festival

Geographical and cultural roots explored in the National Arts Festival Grahamstown’s 2013 Dance offering. Choreographer, teacher and dancer, Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance Fana Tshabalala’s engagement with cleansing ceremonies led him to explore the possibilities in which rites of passage can create new beginnings and purify minds and bodies from the negativities that haunt us. ...

Mixed feelings for Moffie

I’ve hesitated to write anything about Bailey Snyman’s Moffie. Many friends (and festival acquaintances) weren’t too hot for it, feeling the context was ‘off’ and the performances were unmotivated and disconnected. The two early (and conflicting) reviews by Theresa Edlmann and Charl Blignaut, critiqued it insightfully but I somehow agree with both of them, at the risk of sounding like a ...

Festival finds and failures

As the last day draws ever nearer, a measure of reflection is in order on the wins and woes of the past 10 days. Having just seen Lucy Kruger singing, I think there's very little she can't do. And do well. It was her last music show so you'll have to catch her elsewhere. (Also, the bassist and drummer were remarkably fabulous.) Her Mother Milk choreography was fantastic. Her performance in ...

Do not flinch

Fear. It dictates the way we live our lives, circumscribes the places we inhabit. We huddle in our safety zones, pinned down in our circle of light. Run fast, hearts beating, head down, across the spaces between. We open our security gate, hoping there is no-one, no-thing, lying in wait. Into our car, or to the bus. Avoid eye contact. Plug your ears. The office, school, or studio. Safe ...

Fragile: I loved it

Absolutely loved this. A piece of dance that is unconventional and conceptual in nature, Nicola Elliott asks that Fragile be experienced rather than seen as a statement or narrative. So no attempt to analyse or unpack (or even understand the show at all in places) -- dance is not to be felt in the head, but rather in the chest, a series of images in motion pared down but enveloping. Elliott ...

Pirouetting plastic: fantastic

Richard Antrobus called Afternoon of a Foehn “the best piece of dance I’ve seen since forever, and it’s with plastic packets!” And that is just what it is, 45 minutes of dance like you have never seen before. This innovative piece of performance art proves that you don’t need skilled, professional dancers to make a piece of dance magic, you don’t need dancers at all. All you ...

A Lovaffair to remember

Review: Lovaffair Back in 2009, I was living – temporarily – in Germany. I craved theatre. Good theatre. A friend suggested taking me to see an adaptation of Jason and the Golden Fleece. The only catch? It was all in German. I went anyway. It was the most incredible performance I have ever seen. Weaving a successful narrative is not just about what is said. By freeing oneself from the ...

Lovaffair ends my relationship with words

Words fail me. Increasingly, physical theatre, dance, drama – especially when it drums on  your noggin like this morning’s rain on tin -- speaks louder, clearer and with greater truth than any words ever could. Was The Baxter’s “Lovaffair” saying more to me about South Africa and it’s enduring cruelty than the TRC? The disabled dancer was way less disturbing than the emotion ...

Blowing tepid air

Review: Propeller When unable to figure out any form of narrative in a physical theatre performance I reflect on how, or what, the performance made me feel. In the case of Propeller, I felt as close to nothing as it is possible to feel after watching an hour disparate movement, sound and light as is possible. If anything, there were traces of frustration and anger, mere traces only. Propeller ...