WHEN GOOD GUYS fly

A new edi­tion of Dance Um­brella, the con­tem­po­rary dance fes­ti­val, will start next week. Charl Blig­naut chats to star chore­og­ra­pher Gre­gory Maqoma

CityPress - - T# - Maqoma and Oli­van’s Lonely To­gether runs at The Mar­ket the­atre in Joburg on Septem­ber 3 and 4 at 8pm

The chore­og­ra­phy star is tired of whinge­ing. He’s rolled up his sleeves and has been fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing grass roots au­di­ences for con­tem­po­rary dance – start­ing with schools.

“The whole rea­son I’m do­ing dance is to de­velop the next gen­er­a­tion. To make dance rel­e­vant in ed­u­ca­tion and in art as a means of ex­pres­sion.” He is in Cape Town pre­sent­ing a Vuyani work that’s part of the school syl­labus. It deals with man’s im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.

Dancers shouldn’t just wait for gov­ern­ment fund­ing, Maqoma tells me. They must take re­spon­si­bil­ity and show gov­ern­ment what the arts are about.

Our chat con­firms an im­pres­sion I’ve always had of Maqoma – that he’s one of the good guys.

His own art is best de­scribed – ac­cord­ing to critic Adri­enne Sichel – as a “cul­tural cock­tail” that com­bines ur­ban and tra­di­tional, African and Western forms.

His her­itage rip­ples be­neath the sur­face of his moves.

He met Span­ish dancer-chore­og­ra­pher Roberto Oli­van 16 years ago and they are now col­lab­o­rat­ing on Lonely To­gether, a high­light of the Arts Alive Dance Um­brella next week. They bonded over a shared de­sire to de­velop dance at home.

In their new piece, they ex­plore their own tra­di­tions and cul­tures, and how th­ese af­fect their daily lives.

Cul­ture is an in­ner voice, the piece says, a kind of loneliness, even in a crowd.

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