Breathing in and out is a natural and automatic act. From birth we enter the world taking our first gasps of air.

This involuntary breathing mechanism is sometimes heightened or decreased by experiences encountered throughout life.

Exploring this through dance is contemporary dance company iKapa Dance Theatre, with their latest production, Inhale/Exhale.

Following its successful premiere in Maputo, Mozambique, as well as a nationwide tour, Inhale/Exhale ends off at the Artscape Arena Theatre, starting on Wednesday.

At rehearsals at the Ikapa Dance studio space, dancers Theo Ndindwa and Sibahle Tshibika engage in an evocative abstract piece of the production.

The two bodies mirroring one another seem at battle, constantly colliding.

“It’s when you feel cornered, captured and you cannot break through but yet you accept a situation and you still carry that burden,” says Ndindwa.

The production is inspired by how universal stories and life experiences cause an emotional reaction that affects one’s breathing.

“The dancers allow multiple emotions to stimulate their breath, which is the inspiration behind their movement,” explains Ndindwa.

Inhale/Exhale combines the artistic and technical quality of iKapa choreographers Tanya Arshamian and Ndindwa, with the addition of the musical talents of Afropolitan Explosiv’s Thokozani Mhlambi and Nobuntu Mqulwana on cello and vocals.

Four different stages of stories are told without an actual storyline.

The produced work is intended to resonate with audience members from all walks of life with its universal message.

The strong use of body movements, breathing and the vision of emotion dictating the breath is highly engaging.

“We all have memories when we think back and remember a certain event in our lives.

“When you’re angry, your breath deepens and your pulse rate is affected from the emotion we experience at that time,” shares Arshamian.

“The choreographers have captured this connection and used it to translate into movement to tell their stories.

“Though they are personal stories, everyone can relate to them.”

• Catch Inhale/Exhale at the Artscape Theatre Arena, August 1 -4. Book at Computicket. For more information, see