Review: Cape Dance Company Opening Season

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The Nature of BeingThe Cape Dance Company heralded the start of their new season with a contemporary neo-classical ballet choreographed in various pieces by Christopher L. Huggins, Michelle Reid, and students Grant van Ster, Marlin Zoutman and Henk Opperman.

This is a cast of extremely talented, seasoned individuals and each piece has clearly been painstakingly choreographed; but I must be honest and say that, perhaps due to some rather hefty flu medication, I found my mind wandering at times.  The Nature of Being began with the throbbing sounds of a heartbeat and semi-nude creatures waking up to life. I got the impression we were at the dawn of time, watching the human race hatch from the swamp. Fascinating for a while, I started instead to watch how the muscular forms of the male dancers undulated in the other-worldly light. Ahem. Well, I was hoping for a bit more spice, and a girl’s got to find it somewhere!

I was somewhat pacified with On the Road to Nowhere – a humorous piece about a couple travelling in Europe who inevitably end up throwing a couple of punches at each other. It was followed by the beautifully lit When Dawn Comes – a dreamy, breath-taking piece which for me was one of the best in the repertoire.

Makeda Crayton deserves applause for her solo piece, Shedding, which was choreographed by company-men Grant van Ster, Marlin Zoutman, Henk Opperman and assisted by Huggins. Tall and gorgeous, Crayton is a Julliard graduate from NYC, and has numerous accolades under her belt. She seemed a little unsteady in the beginning but regained her stature and found her feet, so to speak. Perhaps this is the story line of the piece; how a dancer finds her centre and blossoms as she sheds her inhibitions. Her blazing smile at the end of the show indicates how passionate she is about what she does.

My personal favourite was Huggins’ Behind Enemy Gates, for which he has won numerous awards overseas. It is a military-styled piece, about the enemies who live amongst us but of whom we are completely unaware. The red and black soldier costumes are striking on stage and a welcome break from the soft nudes and pinks that are synonymous with ballet gear. It was thrilling and by far the best piece of the night.

Kate West

The Cape Dance Company’s season runs at the Artscape Theatre 30 November to 10 December 2011.

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