Director: Faniswa Yisa
|Premiered Baxter Theatre, Cape Town: 3 – 6 August 2011
7 and 9 March 2012 at the Iziko South African Museum Ampitheatre,
as part of the Infecting the City Festival, Cape Town
|Cantico: derived from the Native American principle of dance as an act of worship.
Cantico premiered in August 2011 at the Baxter Theatre and showcased eight Jazzart performance company dancers by relating their individual journeys.
Yisa explained, “Cantico explores themes of identity and essentially is about honouring where we come from and being comfortable with who we are and where we are heading while being part of a collective identity. It is filled with exciting stories told through movement and dance by these very talented dancers.”
Against an emotive musical landscape, comprised of musical pieces of the dancers’ own choice, Cantico not only tells the stories of its performers, but portrays the dynamic, ever-changing nature of life. People, places, perspectives continuously evolve, grow and change. With Cantico, Jazzart Dance Theatre payed tribute to the organisation’s rich legacy and growth while affirming the power of the performing arts to transform people and society.
Working with minimum props, the stage is stripped bare, with only projections by Sanjin Muftic as a backdrop. The dancers narrate their personal stories in text – written, spoken or sung – and through spectacular dance technique and stunning movements. The first piece is a dialogue between the dancers, music, the audience and projections from the film Baraka. The second piece is set to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. Other pieces include the playfulness of children’s games, laughter and catcalls, and the struggle of growing up. The challenge of gender identity was interpreted by one male dancer in high-heel shoes, and through a woman carrying a man off-stage on her back.
Choreography draws on a variety of influences including African traditional, African contemporary, pantsula and break dance.
G Gimberg’s review at A Live Fish stated: “If you work in the arts, or with your imagination, please go see Cantico.”
Fiona Gordon’s review at Artslink.co.za stated: “A range of choreographic influences produce a spectrum of movement - from an exploration of the beautiful tension between the static and fluidity, to break dance, to strong references to the very South African elements of Pantsula, and playground games.”