It is said that when you are born in Africa, Africa is born in you. This is the strong message sent out through the vibrant dance piece, Ukuzinza.
Choreographed by internationally recognised, Mzokuthula Gasa, and featuring 10 dancers from the Playhouse Dance Residency, Ukuzinza - tells a story of pain, suffering, healing, celebration and joy through narration and dance.
IOL Entertainment spoke to him about the homecoming dance piece.
Where did the inspiration for this piece come from?
I was inspired by our country and the continent and the things that are happening. There is corruption, The living conditions we have to live in as human beings especially the black people. We blame the current government for it. So the piece takes the audience on a journey before colonisation and how the content has changed since.
What comes first, the dance or the narrative?
This time around I worked on the narrative and let the dance follow. I told the dancers that we need to forget dance steps and just let the story lead us. Sometimes we work so hard on a dance but when we are in studio everything changes.
You previously worked in England for five years, has your horizons broadened since?
In South Africa I was taught to undermine African dance, like it did not matter compared to other dance styles. But when I was in England, they loved African dance. In fact they respected it more than our country. I was told to drop everything else and just focus on African dance. So it taught me that people overseas value our dance form more than us. It should not be the case.
What do you like basing your pieces on?
A lot of my work is political, pain and suffering. I have five shows that I want to do that focus on these themes before I venture into something else. They all talk about politics and it gets my heart racing. I feel it’s stories that I need to tell. I always feel as South Africans we are being rushed to heal. It shouldn’t be the case. It’s important to talk about it in a non apologetic way.
Why should Durbanites catch the production?
I am a son of Durban and this is my homecoming. No one saw my work since 2001, they are going to be blown away. The language and story is different and very interesting and entertainment. They will be encapsulated.
* Tickets are R80 (public performances) and R30 (schools performances).
Show times are May 24 at 7.30pm (opening); May 25 at 7.30pm and May 26 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
Schools performances are on May 23 and 24 at 10h30.
Age restriction of 13 years.
Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com.