The collaboration of New World Dance Theatre and Figure of Eight Dance Collective for Taal van my Haart (lit: ‘Language of My Heart’) brings together four of Cape Town’s most prestigious dancers for a fantastically beautiful production.
When dancers Celeste Botha, Shaun Oelf, Grant van Ster and Marlin Zoutman are all on one stage, a high level of dance is expected, and they do not disappoint. With clean lines, intricate footwork and soaring lifts, the audience is treated to South African contemporary dance at its best. But delightfully the piece goes beyond simply showcasing the amazing technical ability of these four dancers, and explores their individual and collective artistries by delving into their personal journeys and their experiences in dance.
The production demands constant attention as it flows in and out of group, duet, solo and trio sections with smooth transitions that continually shift the energy and dynamic, with the smoke machine’s puffing being the only thing to break the flow and atmosphere of the piece. The movement vocabulary combines the strengths and individual traits of all the dancers in a harmonious marriage of expansive fluidity interspersed with intricate gestural motifs. The interweaving patterns give visual interest to the piece punctuated by high energy moments when Botha is thrown between the male dancers in a breathtaking whirlwind of movement.
In a masterclass of partner work and seamless transitions, the literal leaps of faith are testament to the trust between the dancers. The duet between Botha and van Ster is particularly interesting as a study of contrasts, not just in the physical difference between the two dancers but in the way it aligns the serious contemplative energy of Botha alongside van Ster’s playfulness, resulting in a duet of sharp manipulation that gets caught up in sweeping, spiralling lifts.
It is a joy to watch these four very individual dancers express their personal experiences in solo moments. But even more exciting is when they move together as one. The effect – when their unison is clean and tight – is breathtaking. At the same time the genuine enjoyment of the dancers is contagious to the point that at times ripples of laughter roll through the audience at the on-stage teasing and bantering.
Taal van my Haart is a must-see show that is highly entertaining and deeply moving and leaves you wanting more. I am excited to see what the future holds in store for New World Dance Theatre and Figure of Eight Dance Collective and I can only hope that another collaboration happens soon.
Taal van My Haart runs 29 July to 2 August 2015 at the Magnet Theatre, Cape Town.