I call you dance: Moving forward through the past

Ciara Baldwin and Nathan Bartman, who make up CAN Creative, go back to their roots for their performance of Rooted in the Curated Consciousness: I call you dance programme.

Whether the language we speak influences the way we view the world, and thus how we act in it, is a long-standing question. It is a question linguists have been paying particular attention to since Benjamin Lee Whorf studied the Native American Hopi language in the ‘40s and claimed English speakers view the world differently to those who speak Hopi.

And what then of dance, which is a language of the body, a vocabulary of movement? Sit up straight and tall, push your chest out. Now slouch down. Can’t argue the way we move influences the way we feel, and vice-versa. And the way we feel is a lens through which we view the world. But does a certain dance influence our way of interacting with the world? If we are schooled in Flamenco, are we more likely to leave a heavier footprint on the earth, be more grounded, more aware of the complex rhythms of daily life? If ballet, are we more likely to approach life with a lighter touch, with a sense of calculated precision and control?

Doctoral theses have been written on this, no doubt. And no doubt there is no clear answer. Clearer, perhaps, is how we assimilate the dances with which we are familiar, and our culture, and our language, our lifestyles, and our surrounding influences, into the way we move. Because if movement is dance, then everybody dances, whether we recognise it or not.

But when it comes to dancers, those who not only recognise the influence of movement but choose it as a means to express themselves and communicate ideas, the question of influence and so called ‘originis one to seriously consider.

It’s a question five professional dancers will be exploring together with musicians in a series of performances, discussions, and workshops during the week of 24th – 30th September. Through movement, of course, in a week titled I call you dance as part of the Curated Consciousness programme taking place at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Observatory.

Put together by Julia de Rosenwerth, five independent experimental dancers will interrogate how their movement is informed by older dance forms they have been trained in.

In a work titled Derivations, as part of her exploration of home, origins and roots, Adriana Jamisse, from Mozambique, pulls apart the specific dance called Marrabenta, while working with musician Kerim Becker. They create an improvised performance as their music and movement communicate with each other.

There’s Ciara Baldwin and Nathan Bartman, who make up CAN Creative and present a work called Rooted, which goes further back than our created forms of movement to explore the support provided by trees, and how these lifeforms might be able to provide insight into the true meaning of life from which we’ve been distracted.

The Critter has seen them before, noting they are “major talents to watch out for” and was impressed by their “skillful ease of performance”, so it’s worth seeing what they’re up to here.

Julia de Rosenwerth goes forward into the past of Flamenco in an attempt to explore how this dance form has influenced her personally and artistically, with a work titled Rein. Julia calls Flamenco out of its institutionalised form, creating an improvised performance of music and dance.

Ché Adams removes layers from Flamenco in her work titled Querencia. In concert with musicians Bienyameen Camroodien and Lorean Swartz, the framing elements that usually accompany Flamenco, at least in South Africa (the elaborate hairstyles and costumes, the performers hiding behind stage awaiting the audiencesarrival, the alluring and often exaggerated movement aesthetic) fall away to allow Ché to undergo a vulnerable journey toward her true self.

The week is not about “flashy dance moves”, says Julia. “It’s not for the mere sake of entertainment. Artists are using embodied practice to understand themselves, it’s a mode of self-exploration and self integration.”

Watching the artist going through this process is a form of participation, which allows you to learn something about yourself, or be touched by certain things, certain expressions.

“It involves a level of engagement,” says Julia. “We need to almost invite the audience to watch in a certain way, which is also why we are having the discussions and workshops.” These are hosted by arts organization ANY BODY ZINE, of which Julia is a co-creator alongside Kopano Maroga and Nicola van Straaten. ANY BODY ZINE focuses on creating platforms for independent artists to make and share work in the form of written publications, online content and performance platforms.

Julia says the important thing about the works she’s curated is that they’re not necessarily contemporary dance, but are experimental dance works. This implies a level of self critique and an ongoing process of consideration of the forms in which the dancers work and the way that relates to us.

Essentially, Curated Consciousness: I call you dance seeks to consider where our dances come from and how they keep on influencing us as people and artists – pulling things apart in order to make more conscious decisions as they are put back together again, in new forms, and with changing meanings. Which means that what you might see at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective this week, is part of the beginnings of new forms. Their success means a contribution to what may be pulled apart again generations from now.

The programme:

24th & 25th September @ 7pm
Created and Performed by Adriana Jamisse
Directed by Julia de Rosenwerth
Live music composed and performed by Kerim Becker

Post-show discussions on both evenings.

26th & 27th September @ 7pm
A double bill – ROOTED performed by CAN Creative and Julia de Rosenwerth performing REIN
Post-show discussions with CAN Creative and Julia de Rosenwerth on 27th September

28th & 29th September @ 7pm
Created and Performed by Che Adams
​Music is created and performed live by Bienyameen Camroodien
Post-show discussions with Che on 29th September

For further information and bookings, click here.


Saturday 29 September

Workshop 1: ‘CAN Creative movement workshop’
Time: 10am – 12pm
Place: Theatre Arts Admin Collective
Price: between R50 – R200 (pay as you can)

Workshop 2: Same Different Movement by Adriana Jamisse
Time: 1pm – 3pm
Place: Theatre Arts Admin Collective
Price: between R50 – R200 (pay as you can)

Sunday 30 September

Workshop 3: ‘Querencia101: Find Yours’ – Che Adams
Time: 10am – 12pm
Place: Theatre Arts Admin Collective
Price: between R50 – R200 (pay as you can)

For further information on workshops and bookings, contact: anybodyzine@gmail.com

The workshops are held in partnership with ANY BODY ZINE, with support from Business and Arts South Africa.

This post is sponsored.

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