One always has preconceptions of a show. An expectation that may be dashed or exceeded by the experience. For me, Jazzart’s Waiting for Rain did both. It so far exceeded my expectation that I was hugely disappointed when it reached its end! This is a dance performance that has the crowd craving for more.
Waiting for Rain taps into the sentimental using interpretative emotional measures in volumes of
water, energy and sound that appear almost too risky for the stage. Dancing in a slippery steel bath seems daring yet effortless, and the sentences of movement are spot-on in synch with all dancers obviously drilled by power woman Jaqueline Manyapelo (director and choreographer). Inclusive of Manyapelo’s direction, additional choreographers Ina Wichtericht-Mongane and Mziyanda Mncam have created a blessed manipulation of the stage, with the use of props such as buckets and benches giving a patina of age to a contemporary form of dance while working flawlessly with the overall theme of rain, home and compassion.
As for the musical direction by Ntone Edjabe, the use of vocals and traditional musical instruments such as a string bow by Mthwakazi brings about a sound which captures the essence of the scenes both geographically and culturally. Anyone with a connection to or even a mere interest in the Khoi will feel the hairs on their forearms respond to this experience.
Additional music compositions by Thandile Mandela allow a fierce play on the rain that has the ability to wash clean, but also to destroy. The power of water and the fluidity of balljointed knees and disjointed hips engendered an electric response that not only feels rejuvenating but transporting. It is beyond beautiful. The moving stage and the rapid and energetic movement of bodies is experimental to the degree that one expects a flaw. But, like a raindrop, it is perfectly and powerfully executed.
Waiting for Rain by Jazzart runs 16 -22 September 2011 at the Artscape Theatre.