Review: Dance For All’s Kaleidoscope

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Dance For All’s production of Kaleidoscope – which celebrates the NPO’s 24 year anniversary – is a colourful and highly entertaining evening of dance that shows off the variety of dance styles studied by its young dancers, and gives hope for the future of dance in South Africa.

The audience is treated to Contemporary, Ballet, Flamenco and African Dance pieces, all of which showcase the impressive versatility of the dancers as well as giving credit to the training of the teachers and choreographers at DFA.

‘Struggle’ choreographed by Anderson Carvalho is the perfect opening number for a show entitled Kaleidoscope, dazzling with multi-coloured costumes and geometric shapes. It is beautiful in its simple and effective patterning of arm and leg gestures, and is performed with a precision and a unity that many professional companies fail to achieve, making it a delight to watch.

The Junior and Senior Ballet pieces are joyful and enjoyable with Daniela di Lorenzo doing a great job of choreographing and ordering the 30+ junior dancers on stage. Once again the commitment to precision and timing as well as the obvious enjoyment of the dancers greatly softens any technical shortcomings in a dance style that is notoriously unforgiving.

The Samba and Flamenco pieces, though not as neat as the rest of the show, highlight the passionate energy of the dancers who demand the audience’s attention with a sense of drama and sensuality. ‘Joy’ is an African Contemporary piece that lives up to its title, and with its high energy and synchronized movement it is an obvious favourite amongst the dancers themselves, who are spurred on by live musicians to show some real performative flare.

The most artistically interesting and mature work in my opinion is ‘Challenges’ by Louise Coetzer.  It is a contemporary work that manages to be choreographically intricate and dynamic while at the same time utilizing the technical ability of the talented young dancers. These dancers perform with such maturity and commitment, and in some cases with such a captivating stage presence that I genuinely look forward to seeing them in professional companies in future. The onstage sound cuing, by which the dancers “tsa” to indicate the beginning of a new phrase, is the only detail that breaks the captivating quality of a work which, with a little more polish and clarity, will be a truly outstanding piece.

Kaleidoscope is a thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring production, and if the young talents we see on stage continue to grow, the future of dance in South Africa could be a really exciting one.

Shirley-Anne Bezuidenhout

Dance For All’s Kaleidoscope runs at the Artscape Theatre, Cape Town, 13 to 16 June 2015.

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