TUT Department of Performing Arts: Dance

Choreographers: Kelsey Middleton, Sidney Agnew, Thabo Rapoo, Megan Rosenberg

Breytenbach Theatre, Sunnyside, Pretoria

Until April 26


If the proof is in the pudding, this soufflé is in trouble. TUT’s “new” dance department can no longer be given the benefit of the doubt. The game is up.

Any faculty that offers dance degrees should at least be able to pull off 10 minutes of rudimentary classical ballet. On the contrary, Sidney Agnew’s Gateway: The Ballet is nothing short of an embarrassment. This small ensemble of hand-picked dancers sorely lacks the fundamentals of dance technique. Sadly, this work is a précis of what is to follow.

Other than in Kelsey Middleton’s We Stumble, We Fall, the students are not in the slightest bit introduced to the standards and demands of the dance industry.

Megan Rosenberg’s Suits is a lacklustre tap work void of any theatricality and smacks of a mediocre eisteddfod standard.

Agnew’s second work, Coloured museum: The Match, is so under-rehearsed that one fails to distinguish between choreo- graphed movement and utter chaos.

His last work, Smash’n JazzAttack, is the most palatable of the three due to it being vaguely entertaining and the fact that it doesn’t really require any technique.

Kgalegadi, by Thabo Rapoo, is a well-structured African dance work that effectually explores the rituals of traditional African village life. In this work the students give a laudable performance.

With one junior lecturer (as indicated in the programme notes) teaching no fewer than seven subjects, one cannot help but question the department’s level of specialised training – a pre-requisite for tertiary dance teaching. The programme, dedicated to former head of department Vicki Karras, exemplifies how Karras’ 20 years of expert input has, within three years of incompetence, gone to ruins.

One trusts that the students will not remain oblivious to the standard of their training.