US dancer on twirlwind tour
Edgy artist to perform piece specially created by Cape Dance Company inthe
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.