Claudia Monja. Picture: Supplied
Dazzling South African dance took to the stage at Joburg Theatre this weekend with the world première of Big City, Big Dreams, a collaborative dance work featuring Joburg Ballet, Vuyani Dance Theatre and Moving into Dance Mophatong.

“Dazzling” is no exaggeration. Upon witnessing audience members grooving their way back to their cars after the performance, there is no other way to describe it.

Big City, Big Dreams eclectically portrays the many faces of Joburg and fuses its many divergent threads into a tapestry that is mesmerisingly vivid and exhilaratingly vibrant. This love story between a young corporate hopeful and a beautiful young ballerina is set against the backdrop of the invigorating hybrid of Joburg’s idiosyncratic bustle.

The creative team of this production outdid themselves.

Wilhelm Disbergen’s minimalistic yet superbly effective set intriguingly makes use of reflection achieved with an angled mirror wall and, in combination with his marvellous lighting design, creates breath-taking visual effects.

Nik Sakellarides’s original compositions and musical editing are exceptional. He brilliantly captures the many nuances of the story with sound that is stirring and electrifying. The pulsating club scenes and street scenes are thrilling.

The three choreographers, Shannon Glover from Joburg Ballet, Lulu Mlangeni from Vuyani Dance Theatre and Sunnyboy Motau from Moving into Dance Mophatong, merged styles ranging from ballet, contemporary dance, street dance, Afrofusion and show dance to produce a unique blend of choreography that effortlessly expresses the many varying scenarios of the work with a refreshing quirkiness in a characteristically Joburg movement idiom.

Claudia Monja is mesmerising as Zara in Big City, Big Dreams. Picture: Supplied

Director Fiona Ramsay consummately manages to bring the dancers’ characters to life with convincing and credible performances that supersede the typical stock characterisation so often seen in dance productions. This makes the storytelling more striking and evokes compassion that allows one to become part of the experience.

Phumlani Mndebele (as Muzi) and Claudia Monja (as Zara) give riveting performances with portrayals that are moving and memorable.

Big City, Big Dreams is the perfect opportunity to introduce dance newbies to the spectacular world of dance. For dance lovers, bluntly put, it would be silly to miss this extraordinary production.