What makes Middleton such a remarkable artist is that she is unreservedly and wholeheartedly passionate about her work. This is not only evident in her choreography, but also in her dancers. She evokes in them a level of involvement and intensity that brings her work to life.
Even though Middleton has a fondness for the dramatic, audiences will in this season enjoy the wittily fun side of her work. Lyf en Siel is a re-staging of one of the company’s signature works.
Set to a compilation of rearranged Afrikaans folksongs, such as the iconic and evergreen My Sarie Marais, O Ryperd, Laat Staan Die Brandewyn and Hansie Slim, the work is a celebration of the spirit of the music, which at times can be hilariously quirky and amusing. The work is set within the context of the historical development of the cinema in the 1900s and the movie sets of eras gone by.
“It is feel-good theatre,” says Middleton. The programme’s second offering is based on a children’s story about the San. Choreographed by Elanie Dekker and Middleton, Die Danser tells the tale of a young San girl, Bau, who in the midst of a harrowing drought, sets off to find the Rain Bull.
He will teach her the rain dance in order for her to please the gods and bring rain to her tribe. In this work, Middleton involves Kmad’s entire academy, although the lead roles are danced by the professional company’s members.
Kristof Skhosana, who dances the role of the Rain Bull says that it is a great experience to perform in a work in which there is both a tremendous amount of challenging dancing and where the focus is on detailed characterisation and good story telling.
Skhosana is a young dancer who, after graduating from Middleton’s gap year in 2016, has made an extraordinary impression inside and outside of the Kmad Company. His technical training has been exemplary and he has a wonderful sense of showmanship and a commanding stage presence. Skhosana says that the opportunities that the gap year offered him were life-changing.
“One is a dance apprentice and is mentored in all the aspects of professional dance theatre. You daily do class with the company, do productions with them and learn everything there is to learn about the making of theatre,” he explains. “It is very demanding, yet also incredibly gratifying to be able to learn from seasoned professionals who care for your progress, both physically and emotionally,” Skhosana says.
Middleton’s next auditions for the Kmad 2017 gap year are on November 11.
Prospective candidates can contact her on 083 631 0106 or at [email protected]
* Lyf en Siel is at the Breytenbach Theatre, November 9-10. Bookings: Kelsey on 083 631 0106 or at [email protected]