US dancer on twirl­wind tour

Edgy artist to per­form piece spe­cially cre­ated by Cape Dance Com­pany inthe

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODON STAGE - ROBYN CO­HEN

DY­NAMIC New York-based dancer Makeda Cray­ton is in town as guest artist of The Cape Dance Com­pany (CDC) and will per­form with the com­pany at Artscape un­til De­cem­ber 11. Cray­ton will also per­form a solo which has been cre­ated spe­cially for her by the CDC.

Cray­ton’s gig with the CDC came about through her col­league, Christo­pher Hug­gins. The ac­claimed Amer­i­can chore­og­ra­pher was brought out last year by CDC di­rec­tor Debbie Turner as part of the com­pany’s 2010 sea­son. Hug­gins was a hit and Turner in­vited him back.

When asked to sug­gest a guest artist, he of­fered Cray­ton, with whom he has worked ex­ten­sively.

Bravo to Turner for bring­ing Cray­ton and Hug­gins to our shores, a pair known for provoca­tive and thrilling work.

For the cur­rent sea­son, Hug­gins is repris­ing the piece he staged last year – En­emy Be­hind The Gates – and a work we haven’t yet seen, called When A Dawn Comes.

Cray­ton ex­plains: “En­emy is about in­trud­ers and en­e­mies you have to pro­tect your­self from. Dawn is about hope – that some­thing bet­ter is over the hori­zon.”

Cray­ton will dance in both of Hug­gins’s pieces, along­side the com­pany. She is ex­cited about Shed­ding, the solo which has been chore­ographed by two CDC dancers, Grant van Ster and Henk Op­per­man.

“It is about be­ing vul­ner­a­ble and open. I wear a skirt with many lay­ers and I shed them. It is very fem­i­nine, del­i­cate and in­ti­mate.”

She is full of praise for the com­pany, par­tic­u­larly its artistry. “Tech­nique is one thing. I think in Amer­ica, many dancers have moved away from artistry. It is how high you can jump. But re­ally, a plié is a plié. It is the same the world over and it’s what you do with it that counts.”

As a free­lancer, she cher­ishes the op­por­tu­nity to see how other peo­ple work, move and in­ter­pret.

“I love free­lanc­ing. One re­alises there is an­other way of life other than your way, and maybe one should ex­plore that and see if it can work with your way.”

Con­stantly on the move, Cray­ton wears her hair shorn close to the scalp and dyed a fab­u­lous bright pink-red. “It’s main­te­nance free, get up and go.” And it looks fan­tas­tic.

It is not just when she is on the road that she gets to mix with in­ter­est­ing peo­ple. The Chicagob­orn Cray­ton has lived in the Big Ap­ple for four years.

“Most peo­ple who live in New York are not orig­i­nally from there. It is like a port city. You get a good fu­sion of every­thing.”

And here she is in an­other port city – Cape Town.

“Ev­ery­one keeps ask­ing me: ‘Will you be happy to get home?’ and I say, ‘Well, I don’t re­ally have to leave’.”

If some­one were to of­fer an­other en­gage­ment, she might be tempted to linger a lit­tle longer. If not, it’s back to New York. “To the cold and snow! I will prob­a­bly go home (to Chicago) for Christ­mas.”

No ex­otic des­ti­na­tions? “My va­ca­tions are al­ways my work spots.”

Per­for­mances at the Artscape The­atre Dance Fac­tory un­til De­cem­ber 10 are at 8.15pm, and on Sun­day, De­cem­ber 11, the show starts at 6pm. Tick­ets are R110. Book through Com­puticket at 0861 915 8000.

See Twit­ter @Capedanceco.

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