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Shannon Glover explores the concept of death in new dance piece ‘The Afterlife Souls’

Darragh Hourrides, Craig Pedro in The Afertlife: Souls. Picture: Lauge Sorensen

Darragh Hourrides, Craig Pedro in The Afertlife: Souls. Picture: Lauge Sorensen

Published Mar 25, 2022


The Joburg Ballet marks its 21st Anniversary milestone with eight spectacular dance productions for the new season “Evolve,” a celebration of dance which launches at the Joburg Theatre this Friday, March 25.

“Evolve”, the first of Joburg Ballet’s three main celebratory seasons this year, offers a blend of the new and the classical, bringing together four ballets, three of them world premieres, as well as a glittering showpiece from the classical repertoire.

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The new works are "The Afterlife: Souls", an introspective piece by principal dancer Shannon Glover, "The Game" by Mario Gaglione in which the game of kings has inspired the choreographer to draw parallels between the game of chess and the game of life, and "Legae", an evocative dance piece by Tumelo Lekana.

Craig Pedro, Darragh Hourrides, Revil Yon, Shana Dewey Loureiro in The Afterlife: Souls. Picture: Lauge Sorensen

In her latest compelling dance piece, “The Afterlife: Souls”, Glover interrogates the concept of death as the “great equaliser”.

“I’m always choreographing and coming up with ideas for new works. ’The Afterlife and Souls’ is about four people, each with a unique background,” says Glover.

“The characters are intertwined, and their souls find each other while on this journey to the afterlife.

The grief and emotional struggle of accepting death, the confusion and misery of purgatory, the loss of free will are some of the themes explored in the show.

“The piece explores their emotional journeys as they transition from life to death and to a fictional afterlife.”

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She adds: “South Africa is the most economically unequal country in the world. I feel like a concept that reverses that trend could be interesting.

“So I wanted to create an environment where the characters in my piece are not separated by typical societal hierarchies - all four characters are equal at this point finding their way to The Afterlife.”

Shana Dewey Loureiro, Revil Yon in The Afterlife: Souls. Picture: Lauge Sorensen

Commenting on “Evolve”, Joburg Ballet's artistic director Iain MacDonald says: “We are proud that as Joburg Ballet celebrates its 21st Anniversary, the company continues to consolidate its standing as a creative force in South African dance.

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“In 2021, we presented thirteen new works, and we are set to continue this trend in 2022.

“This aligns with our vision to offer opportunities for new choreographic voices to be heard, to offer works that reflect our world and provide new experiences for our audiences while at the same time continuing to honour the classical ballet foundations on which Joburg Ballet is based.”

The new season of “Evolve” is set to take place from March 25 and runs until April 3 at the Joburg Theatre.

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Tickets are available at Webtickets and range from R200 to R475.

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