Cape Dance Company’s jam-packed Interplay features works from four different choreographers, set over two programmes. From neo-classical and romantic to gritty contemporary works, it is both varied and thoroughly entertaining.
Alongside the company’s new works are two of Christopher L Huggin’s popular pieces. The first, When Dawn Comes, is a lighthearted depiction of the joyful possibilities that a new day brings. The dancers bring a constant flutter of movement as they continually filter on and off stage. Bolero is similar in its relentlessness but not at all in its movement quality and theme. The iconic music by Maurice Ravel has been interpreted to give it a sensual, carnival-like energy that is a non-stop rollercoaster of technical virtuosity by the dancers. This technical ability is drawn upon in Kirsten Isenberg’s Hush, which premieres this season. The costumes and projection are a bit too literal and distracting, but Isenberg’s deployment of cannon and accumulation in the choreography builds to a climactic end. Kingsley Beukes’ ferocity is particularly notable among strong performances by all the dancers.
Another performance that deserves a mention is that of Emily Isted in Visceral, one of two pieces created by Mthuthuzeli November seen this season. Isted’s focus and ability to move from release to control is captivating, and the whole cast succeeds at creating the lines and shapes that are so vital to the geometric aesthetic of this sophisticated choreography. The lighting, costumes, movement and stage set up all contribute to the creative cohesion of the piece.
A similar cohesion is found in November’s Sun – The Rite of Passage, a second premiere piece and the highlight of the evening. It is unique not only for its grounded, guttural movement quality, but also for its intense and ritualistic energy. With some work, I feel it has the potential to be an absolute masterpiece. The absorbing and unified movement of the corps dancers is genius. Although, this often causes them to overshadow the soloists, making it difficult to follow their narrative. Nonetheless, it is completely engrossing and the music by Peter Johnson is riveting.
As always, CDC delivers an excellent standard of dancing with a full programme that boasts variety and an exciting prospect for dance in South Africa.
Interplay is on at the Artscape until 11 November 2017.