Gregory Maqoma/Vuyani Dance Theatre Returns to REDCAT with 'Exit/Exist'

Gregory Maqoma/Vuyani Dance Theatre Returns to REDCAT with 'Exit/Exist'

In Exit/Exist, renowned South African choreographer Gregory Maqoma reinvigorates African oral and musical tradition with contemporary movement to explore his family's ancestral heritage as a way of understanding the complexities of our contemporary world. Now touring the U.S., Exit/Exist will have its West Coast premiere at REDCAT, Calarts' downtown center for contemporary arts Thursday, November 7 to Sunday, November 10.

Gregory Maqoma's transformational and poignant solo dance fuses storytelling with his signature unparalleled integration of contemporary and traditional dance styles, accompanied by the live singing of the South African acapella ensemble Complete and world-fusion guitarist Giuliano Modarelli, performing a lush score by the acclaimed singer and composer Simphiwe Dana.

Maqoma's performance embodies a forgotten history where the musicians become supporting characters in the narrative interwoven into his vibrantly kinetic world, creating rich visual scenes that punctuate his abstract exploration of race and political power, cultural tradition and personal legacy.

Exit/Exist rewinds the tape to the days when the tapestry of South Africa was about the collision of biographies. -ArtSpoken News

As inspiration for this piece, Gregory Maqoma looks to his ancestral past when 19th-century warrior Chief Maqoma fought the British to maintain the Xhosa cultural traditions of the Eastern Cape in the face of colonial dispossession. 2013 marks the centenary of South Africa's infamous Native Land Act (1913), a foundational piece of legislation that legalized colonial dispossession during segregation and apartheid. Maqoma invites audiences to reflect on who we are, where we come from, and how all of these facets inform our personal and collective identities today.

Gregory Maqoma/ Vayani Dance Theatre

Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, internationally renowned dancer, choreographer, director and scriptwriter, started his dance training in 1990. While studying under Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker at Performing Arts Research and Training School (PARTS) in Belgium in 1999, Maqoma founded Vuyani Dance Theatre (VDT), a company that fuses African contemporary urban styles, music and culture with those of contemporary European counterparts. VDT creates work that questions and challenges social values with history as a launchpad for material. Their approach embraces-in a dynamic and theatrical way-the many tastes, motivations, and cultures that shape the uniqueness of South African society.