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‘Beyond Dreams’ is a soul-stirring production that tickles the imagination

The production starts at the Durban Playhouse before heading to Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg. Picture: Instagram

The production starts at the Durban Playhouse before heading to Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg. Picture: Instagram

Published Oct 17, 2023


For the first time Durban theatre-goes can experience WGRUV Dance Company’s breathtaking storytelling through dance as they make their way to the Durban Playhouse.

Their soul-stirring production “Beyond Dreams” is scheduled to run from October 19 to 21.

Creative director Holly Gruver, who relocated to South Africa 10 years ago from the US, describes “Beyond Dreams” as an “ethereal and captivating” production which sees nine dancers slip in and out of fantasy-reality dreamscapes.

“It’s a blend of contemporary ballet and Spanish dancing and it highlights the ethereal world of dreaming in our sleep state and also in real life.

“Sometimes our dreams manifest as goals. The show looks at these different types of dreams and the dancing blends these themes together,” says Gruver.

“It begins with a dreamscape that looks at a couple going out on a date and goes into sort of a thunderstorm. All of the dancers move into different dreamscapes that highlight either contemporary, neo-classical ballet or Spanish rhythms.”

The magnificent spectacle promises seamless choreography, breathtaking leaps, and soul-stirring music. And aims to push the boundaries of traditional ballet, enticing audience members to journey into the realm of imagination.

It will feature international choreography from the likes of industry trailblazers Michael Trusnovec, Tyler Gilstrap and Dominic Walsh, as well as local artists.

Gruver says the production also highlights technical ability and emotional depth of the dancers as they move in and out out these fantasy-reality dreamscapes.

“We are a small company so that requires a lot of athleticism, which they are, very athletic dancers, but they have to carry through these different genres of dance with stamina and artistry that is difficult.”

Audiences can prepare to be shifted into themes of love, security, fear among others.

“Act one begins with a date, it’s got themes of love and security and then the second act also begins with a playful date, but then it transitions into fear.

“We also have another piece which is about sowing and reaping and moving together through a journey of work and it was created with a motivation of what is going on in Israel - so it is dedicated to the conflict and suffering in Israel.

“We have a doorway that represents a goal, that you can move through and around. Sometimes these things present in our lives in different ways, and sometimes we either have to go through the door or sometimes we can’t, and have to find different routes.

“We also utilise a giant cube that represents an obstacle and the dancers move in and out of that and through it,” she says.

The production, which Lex Gruver and herself have been working on for about four months, has multiple layers.

“We always give the dancers our motivation on thought for what we are creating, but once it goes to the stage it’s up for the audiences interpretation.

“We try to give a little bit of thought and understanding to our audience through the program. Sometime we’ll include a little bit of an explanation like what is this about, but the dancers interpret it themselves and sometimes add more layers to it.

“One person may say that they understand exactly what we trying to communicate and someone else might take something completely different away.”

She says the music, costumes and lighting design are just as integral to them as the actual story is.

"We really spend a lot of time on this, and hope for an end product that is going to be something that’s redeemable for the audience Something that they will remember.

Ultimately the show ends on a high note, leaving audience’s mindsets lifted.

“We always end with a bit of hope and peace that lifts the scene and gives people something positive to go away with, because we all face a lot of challenges in life.

“Durban is our first stop before heading to Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg. We’ve never been to Durban and it takes time to build an audience so we are hoping for the best.

The show is family-friendly with a lot of interesting and exciting elements that will cater for children and more serious and mature themes for adults.

“Beyond Dreams” will take place at the Playhouse Drama Theatre on October 19 -21. Tickets are R150 - R200 via Webtickets.

Another show not to be missed:

“Abaminza: Dialogues with the Drowned”

Members of the cast. Picture: Val Adamson

DUT second year Drama and Production students are staging “Abaminza: Dialogues with the Drowned”, unearthing recovered histories of men who perished on the SS Mendi, at the DUT Courtyard Theatre.

Created, devised and directed collaboratively by Drama HoD, Dr Tanya van der Walt and Dr Tamar Meskin, the story examines the fascinating, and deeply tragic stories associated with the SS Mendi, which was the worst maritime disaster in South Africa’s history.

The story will be presented through spoken word vignettes, poetry and creative writing piece in a variety of languages (mostly in Zulu and English), dance, live original music, soundscapes, projections, multi-media and song.

Where: Courtyard Theatre, DUT.

When: Until October 20.

Cost: R50 and students pay R20 via Bawinile at 031 373 2194 or email [email protected].