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
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.