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ONE OF the choreographers whose work will form part of In the Spotlight, Yarisha Singh, is a name that hasn’t been spotted on a Cape Town dance programme in a while.
Singh used to teach contemporary dance and choreographed for various institutions around Cape Town between 2001 and 2008, but left South Africa in 2010 to travel through Asia for two years with her husband, teaching English and yoga.
She founded a yoga and wellness venture in Joburg on her return and has certainly used her newfound practical patience when dealing with dancers.
Still, this wasn’t something she really needed to draw on when working with the Cape Junior Ballet Company.
Singh praised the dancers as “intelligent workers” who diligently rehearse and work in a semi-professional environment.
“I think, because of the yoga, I work in an honest way with the dancers. It makes for open communications to get rid of the unnecessary drama,” said Singh.
She had a very short timespan – five days, three hours a day, during the April school holiday – to rehearse with the company, but credits them as extremely well-trained.
“If it was a different environment it would have been more tricky, but it was the same approach as working with professional dancers.”
Dianne Cheesman initially approached her to work with Khanya Mandongana on the piece he did for the Cape Town International Ballet Competition and she offered to create a piece for the junior company’s new season.
This new 13-minute dance, Quest, centres on this solo she created for Mandongana, and it draws on the soundtrack of the Last of the Mohicans for inspiration.
Singh often takes music as the initial inspiration when choreographing a new work.
“It’s all about sending Khanya to a battle and the support of the females around that, helping him through the battle and healing him,” explained Singh.
While she was in Cape Town she also worked with the Cape Town City Ballet in May, for a piece they will present during their run of Ballet Beautiful (July 4 to 12 at Artscape).