The Lincoln to Host FESTIVAL OF SOUTH AFRICAN DANCE, 10/25
Direct from Johannesburg, South Africa, two deeply rhythmic ensembles-Real Actions Pantsula and Stimela "The Gumboot" Musical-will perform two distinct South African dance traditions as they uplift, unite, and entertain while following their historical tradition of spreading awareness of socioeconomic and political challenges. These communicative dances have become important parts of restoring, revitalizing, and preserving South African culture.
CAPA presents Festival of South African Dance at the Lincoln Theatre (769 E. Long St.) on Wednesday, October 25, at 8pm. Tickets are $20 and $30 at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
About Real Actions Pantsula
In 1992, Sello Reuben Modiga established Real Actions Pantsula after realizing the talent of young dancers in Orange Farm, a small town in South Africa outside of Johannesburg. As director and choreographer, Modiga strives to give South Africa's youth the opportunity to live free of the harmful influence of the street through the power of dance.
Real Actions Pantsula has traveled locally, provincially, nationally, and internationally since its inception. They consider themselves "the real thing," with their unique interpretation of Pantsula and their own aspirations of distinguishing themselves from other Pantsula crews. They believe that a positive impact on their community, through their passion for dance, will revive the spirit of "Ubuntu," a Zulu word meaning "humanity."
The group of 30 talented teenagers performs choreography consisting of quick, syncopated stepping usually set to modern pop, electronic, techno, or deep house music. Historically, Pantsula dancing would evoke certain political overtones, speaking out against the Apartheid government, socio-economic injustice in South Africa, and even the AIDS epidemic. That freedom of expression dating back to the early '80s has created an art form which is a proud expression of South African culture.
About Stimela "The Gumboot" Musical
Stimela "The Gumboot" Musical is written and directed by critically acclaimed, South African playwright Thapelo Gordon Motluong. It is a vibrant musical piece told through narration, music, and Gumboot dance, and tells a tale of rural African men who come by train from all walks of life in search of greener pastures in the City of Gold, Johannesburg. As time passes, life proves
to be more challenging than they expected, and they endure difficult working conditions in the gold mines simply to make ends meet to send money back home. The journey unfolds through a series of flashbacks as we learn about each man's story from the eyes of Zakhele Ndlovu, a young Zulu man who leaves behind his mother and the love of his life, Buhle Zwane.
The production explains the history of Gumboot dancing, while also integrating Gumboot
choreography throughout the show. Gumboot dancing, also known as "Isicathulo," was conceived by South African workers in the 1880s who were transported to Witwatersrand, South Africa, by European settlers to mine for gold. The mines were often flooded, so the miners were provided with gumboots to protect their feet. They were forbidden to speak while they worked, so they would often jangle their ankle chains in order to communicate with one another. As an art form, Gumboot dancing uses the same methods of body articulation in a polyrhythmic
pattern while wearing Wellington gumboots, reminiscent of the way the miners would move their chains to communicate. Today, the dance exists as a strong symbol of South African history and culture, used in routines on the streets and plazas of tourist areas in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Thapelo Motluong and the company of Stimela "The Gumboot" Musical have toured their production all throughout South Africa, as well as parts of New Zealand, reaching critical acclaim. Motluong's mission as a playwright is to preserve and restore the South African tradition while sharing South African art forms, like Gumboot dancing, with the world.
Photo credit: Courtesy CAMI