Find the perfect dress for every occasion...
OPENING the Baxter Dance Festival last week, Baxter chief executive officer, Lara Foot, paraphrased choreographer Alfred Hinkel when she called the showcase “a place for dancers to find their feet”.
“Looking at the history of dance in the country and what it means to be able to express yourself without words… dancers could say what they wanted to say, without language,” she said, explaining why the Baxter considers the dance showcase an important part of their calender.
The more than 520 dancers who will take to the stage across the 10-day festival do not receive any financial compensation for appearing, but do so because they love it and that enthusiasm is coming through strongly this year.
The opening programme has struck a good mix between appealing to the audience and showcasing dance and choreo- graphic skill, once again demonstrating that dance transcends language and good dance is understood by any audience.
Festival producer, Nicolette Moses, dedicated the programme to the late Carolyn Holden and the inclusion of the La Rosa dancers with the Teatro Flamenco Wilvan dancers on the programme points to a possible future merging of the two flamenco groups, which would be a good move.
The Eoan Group Theatre Company impressed with their precision corps work, as they did last year, when they assuredly opened the festival with Abeedah Medell’s When We Fall.
The programme notes erroneously suggested that production was rated PG because of nudity, but that will be Ebrahim Medell’s Shifting Dependencies which will be performed on Friday and Saturday.
Both When We Fall and Mishkaah Medell’s Re(Verse) drew on a variety of disciplines ranging from ballet to Indonesian traditional dance and the trainees of the Eoan school, so imagine what they could do if they had the funds for a full-time company.
Alfred Hinkel and John Linden also drew on echoes of the past in Blood of the Young, while still allowing the Garage dancers to give voice to their own relationship to dance.
The ease and joy with which newcomer Adelaide Majoor danced was palpable as she brought rieldans into a contem- porary stage context and the playfulness between her and Byron Klassen was infectious.
The guys from Jazzart showcased their acrobatic skill in Mziyanda Mancam’s Unlimited which was kind of the catwalk meets prison, Cape Town style.
The choreography was very reminiscent of what we saw in Waiting for the Rain and who knows what the Jazzart ladies will get up to later in the week when they tackle Jacqueline Manyaapelo’s choreography.
Visiting Canadian dancer and choreographer, Joshua Beamish, blew everyone away with his control in the opening solo from his latest work, Pierced.
His abstract piece drew inspiration from the mythology of Cupid and Eros and each set of movements ended in very precise poses, which had him turning on a dime and extending just so.
In addition to dancing at the festival, Beamish is also choreographing a new piece of work for the Cape Dance Company for their annual showcase at the end of the year.
While the main programme (which changes every two days) is meant mostly for the professional choreographers and invited dance groups, the off-main programme is a showcase for the works of emerging choreographers and student work and here the children impressed even more than the adults.
Bruno Wani merged diverse dance traditions from the various cultures which contributed slaves to this country with a strong traditional ballet underpinning in the production Slavery and the talented Dance For All teenagers owned that piece.
Dianne Ross must have had a fun time working with The Hip Hop Collective and The Performance Lab, teaching them Insanitorium, because those little Gleeks had a blast.
Dressed up as ghouls they sang and danced their way through a fun routine which allowed them to confidently express themselves.
• The Baxter Dance Festival ends on Saturday.