Theatre in Motion 2017: Review

This year’s annual Theatre in Motion ran from 18 to 21 October. This programme sees UCKAR Honours and Masters student choreographers collaborate to create stories through various dance forms and audience experiences with performance exchange.

Although dance often comes across as hard to read, especially for those who do not necessarily speak the dance language, Theatre in Motion allows all audience members to understand the story behind physical performance through dance as an art form. The choreographers this year aimed to tell stories that are usually text based through movement; covering themes from colour, emotions, traditions and more.

Danielle van der Merwe’s piece, Ovum, was inspired by the death of her grandmother and based on the womxn in her family. Her piece revolved around her mother throwing her babies out the nest. Conceptually, she envisioned a nest structure on the stage with her four characters representing the women in her family, as well as the babies that have been thrown out the nest. All cast members wore wrap around skirts with ember colours from dark blue, light blue, choral to cream. The backdrop for her piece was that of an egg yolk picture wall. In this piece, she explored themes of letting go, motherhood, memories of the personal experiences and forms of sisterhood.

Mmatumisang Motsisi’s piece was the re-imagining of her Young Directors Season (YDS) play “In the blood”. The original text is based on a single mother with five children. In this choreography piece, Motsisi worked on making the mother a widow five times. The womxn was seen by the community as a witch because of the belief is that she has killed the fathers of her children. The colours of the piece resembled the black widow spider and were therefore predominantly black and red. She worked with six performers and dealt with themes of death, rituals, traditions, ostracization and family.

Mlondiwethu Dubazane’s piece had two performers and dealt with the close proximity of these two performers. It also dealt with fear and anxiety.

Gerogina Graaff’s piece, Aura, is based on the idea of pressure, release and relief. It plays on the idea of making what’s on the inside visible by starting off mechanically and then becoming chaotic. The piece, which had 7 performers, carried a very ominous feel. It used stretchy white material that the performers were inside of to emphasize the theme of internal and external.

Serena Paver’s piece, Dark Matter, was based on exposing vulnerability and unknowingness- the idea of not being able to see something but being aware that something is there. The piece had 3 performers and was performed in the box theatre, completely stripped down with no backdrop and no props.

This year’s Theatre in Motion portrayed a wide variety of stories honing in on a number of social issues. Overall, the programme was deemed a huge success.


Words and images by Kanya Yako