Dada’s feminist revision of ‘Giselle’ on NAF stage

Extraordinary dancer and choreographer Dada Masilo’s Giselle will make its debut at the National Arts Festival (NAF) this year.

Masilo is known for her unique and innovative African interpretation of classical ballets.

Dada Masilo returns to the National Arts Festival this year with Giselle. PICTURE SUPPLIED
A regular at the NAF, Masilo’s previous interpretations include Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Carmen and Death and the Maiden.

Masilo, a 2008 Standard Bank Young Artist award winner said she created work “that is not about forgiveness but about deceit, betrayal, anger and heartbreak”.

“The Willis ancestors literally call Giselle to join them. They are not a group of sweet, sad girls, but rather something more terrifying … They have been hurt. They are heartbroken. And they want revenge. Giselle does not forgive,” Masilo said.

Her work reinterprets all the cues with riveting results.

Former Standard Bank Young Artist Vincent Mantsoe’s solo work, KonKoriti will also take centre stage.

Mantsoe, currently living in France, toured France and Germany last year to sold-out houses and critical acclaim.

Named after a song about pride and arrogance that his grandmother used to sing to him, KonKoriti explores physical power and selfishness.

Mantsoe is strongly inspired by spirituality and deep cultural influences as he wrestles with the preservation of tradition in the contemporary.

Other dance productions to look forward to include the powerful collaboration created through a residency at Dance Space in Johannesburg between Unmute Dance Company (Cape Town) and Tumbuka Dance Company (Harare), which have united to present Breaking Borders.

Moved by the incidence of xenophobia in South Africa, the artists’ intentions are to help break the borders between their countries by connecting and looking to the future.

The work starts with the question, “Who am I as an African person?”

The festival’s artistic committee member, Gregory Vuyani Maqoma said this year’s dance programme interrogates and celebrates questions of identity, culture, spirituality and sensuality.

“The 2017 programme represents a curious, furious and poetic game of different aesthetics, contexts and languages, oscillating between perception and attribution, between history and that which is current and urgent.”

The core programme has been collaboratively produced by Executive Producer Ashraf Johaardien and a 20-member artistic committee, with Maqoma, dance lecturer Lliane Loots and arts writer Tracey Saunders on the dance sub-committee.

By Poliswa Plaatjie, DispatchLIVE

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